Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck recently announced that the Los Angeles Police Department will stop turning over illegal immigrants who are arrested for low-level crimes to ICE authorities for deportation proceedings. The move comes as part of Beck’s initiative to define the Los Angeles PD’s stance on immigration issues.
Beck explained that the move is necessary to balance out federal laws requiring local police to federal authorities information on people who are arrested. Under the 2008 Secure Communities program, law enforcement agencies must fingerprint every individual they arrest and then share the information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. After reviewing the information, immigration officials ask the police to detain individuals who are suspected of being in the United States without green cards or visas.
“The federal program that issues these detainers has a very valid core premise,” Beck told The Associated Press. “And that is that you should use the power of the government and the power of enforcement of immigration to keep and increase public safety, and you should do that by targeting those most serious and violent criminals. Unfortunately that has not always been the case and that has eroded this public trust that local police departments such as the Los Angeles police department so depend on.”
With an estimated 750,000 undocumented immigrants living in Los Angeles, Beck believes that losing these residents’ trust could hurt the LAPD’s ability to effectively monitor and police the city, the Los Angeles Times reported.
More than 400 people arrested annually for nonviolent offenses, such as driving without a license, being intoxicated in public or vending illegally, will benefit from the policy, according to The New York Times.
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