LAPD Will No Longer Honor Federal Requests To Detain Illegal Immigrants For Low-Grade Crimes
The department's official statement said that "in the spirit of keeping with the intended purpose" of U.S. immigration law, it will no longer simply rubber-stamp requests from the federal government to detain suspected illegal immigrants without first making its own judgment call about the person in question.
Police chief Charlie Beck, who has been a notable immigration "dove" among law enforcement officers, has already cut down on impounding of cars driven by unlicensed drivers and favors issuing undocumented immigrants drivers' licenses, according to the L.A. Times. Today's proposed policy, which directly challenges federal authority, is the LAPD's strongest move yet toward setting its own immigration guidelines.
The LAPD's statement explains the planned policy as follows:
"Under the new proposal, individuals arrested for one of these low-grade misdemeanor offenses will not be subject to continued detention on the basis of an ICE Detainer Request absent additional information from ICE and/or prior felony arrest(s), or if the individual is a documented gang member. The Department will still honor detention requests on all felony and high-grade misdemeanor arrests."
Beck's policy statements on immigration draw a sharp contrast to another high-profile Western law enforcement official, Arizona's Joe Arpaio. The LAPD boss says that these moves are necessary to help officers better work with immigrant communities, as the L.A. Times reports:
"Beck presented the changes as a way for the department to rebuild trust with the city's enormous immigrant population -- a trust that, he said, has been eroded over the years by the heavy-handed approach immigration officials have taken in which they have failed to distinguish violent, dangerous criminals from those committing petty crimes."
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has not yet commented on the LAPD's announcement.
Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.