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LAPD Will No Longer Detain Suspects for Immigration Officials

The mayor said he wants the city to treat immigrants -- whether they are in the country legally or not -- with respect and dignity.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says LAPD won't detain suspects for immigration officials. Photo credit: Getty Images.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says LAPD won't detain suspects for immigration officials. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Originally posted at 10:31 a.m. July 7, 2014. Edited with new details.

By ELIZABETH HSING-HUEI CHOU
City News Service

Saying police need to maintain the trust of the community during a federal government stalemate on immigration policy, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Chief Charlie Beck announced today that the LAPD will no longer comply with most requests by immigration authorities to detain suspects.

Garcetti said the Los Angeles Police Department will not adhere to "detainer requests issued without judicial review."

The mayor said he wants the city to treat immigrants with respect and dignity "while we wait on the federal government to act on immigration reform."

Beck said the department would follow the mayor's directive, saying it is important for the LAPD to have the trust of the community.

"There's nothing more important to a police department than community trust," Beck said.

By no longer complying with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more people will report crimes, come forward as witnesses and obey the law, Beck said.

Beck said the department has already been "systematically" scaling back the number of detainments over the past three years, and the crime rates have fallen.

According to Beck, the city has received 773 ICE detainer requests since the beginning of the year and complied with more than 300 of them. The decisions were made based on the "severity of the crime" and the individuals' criminal history, he said.

Garcetti said the policy change does not mean the city will release "violent or serious criminals," but would ensure that detentions would undergo a judicial review.

"The way it exists right now, you don't even have to go to a judge" for ICE to issue a detainer request, he said.

Garcetti said detainer requests took away resources from the LAPD, costing taxpayer money when the city's budget is already "stretched."

"We want to put more police officers back on the street, solving crimes, doing the things that our citizens pay their tax dollars to make sure law enforcement is doing," Garcetti said, adding that the federal government is the one that needs to be enforcing federal immigration laws.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said the city has the legal standing to resist ICE's requests.

A federal court ruling in Oregon "makes clear ICE detentions are requests," he said. "They are not mandates, and it is therefore up to the local jurisdiction to determine what its policy will be with respect to honoring those requests."

Immigrant-rights advocates hailed the announcement, with Claudia Bautista of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network saying the police chief's "clear directive to reject ICE's overreaching detainer requests moves Los Angeles another step away from the Arizona policies that threaten L.A. families and public safety."

"The coalition will be watching very closely to make sure ICE does not try to circumvent the policy announced today in any way," Bautista said.

Jessica Karp, an NDLON attorney who is suing the county over a detainer request, said the mayor and the police chief "should be applauded for differentiating Los Angeles and crafting city policies that honor the city's immigrant roots instead of ICE's unjust efforts."

"The people of Los Angeles can feel safer as local officials are taking steps to repair the damage done to community-police relations by the federal Secure Communities program," she said.



Gerald Elekes July 08, 2014 at 01:06 PM
@ Monica Bey... Hit the nail right on the head. Having worked in L.A. LE I rarely-- let me rephrase that-- I never observed any "illegal immigrant" of any race willingly offer to be a witness, especially in open court, to a violent crime that was not committed against themselves or their immediate family. And getting that accomplished was like pulling teeth. Why? Because in most L.A. neighborhoods Street Criminals run the show, not LE, as they would have one believe. Most LAPD do not reside in LA; they work in LA. Once they "Get On," they flee to better environs. End of Watch they go home to a safe city while the criminals remain behind to do their dirty work in the neighborhoods they inhabit on a daily basis, with their families, extended and otherwise, as they have for generations. As such, when it comes to interacting with police, "trust" is not in most "sensible" individual's vocabulary, irrespective of citizen or immigration status. The fear is reprisal for cooperation with LE. In most "illegal immigrants" countries of origin, "The Man" is a corrupt crook who is to be avoided at all costs...because it costs--always. How do you undo that deeply engrained economic, sociological and psychological stumbling block? By not enforcing laws? Really! Why stop at Stop Signs? Do what you want as their are no real consequences in life. That's the message being sent here. Apparently freedom has become "the right" to do whatever you want whenever you want with no accountability no matter what side of the law you are on. Until that issue is solved, everything else is complete B.S. This is political smoke & mirrors, another LA Horse & Pony show as the expense of its victim citizens.
Dave July 08, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Few years LA will look like Detroit.
Willie Lump July 08, 2014 at 02:37 PM
We like illegals in L.A. After all, laws are made to be broken...
Willie Lump July 08, 2014 at 02:41 PM
What's a matter, Garcetti? Did I.C.E. detain your gardener or nanny? If L.A. refuses to comply with Federal law, the Federal government should withhold Federal funds from L.A. Only fair and I'm sure the illegals and their supporters will joyfully pay for the city and county services...
TJ Hand July 11, 2014 at 04:31 AM
LOL... You are the mayor, are you not? Immigrants are what makes the US the US of A. How can you decide what is best for 8 million people? We all know that your a SHOW PONY and a hand puppet... Comes with the job.... At least try and act like you are doing your job... Are you going to be the mayor who has brown dead grass in your yard? Proudly drives in a dirty car?

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