LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Won’t Hand Over Low Level Arrestees to Immigration Officials

Los Angeles, home to 750,000 immigrants, could see a big shift in immigration enforcement soon.

By Julianne Hing Oct 05, 2012

Those who are arrested for low level crimes in Los Angeles won’t get referred to immigration officials for potential detention and deportation, Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck announced Thursday. The change in policy, reported by the [Los Angeles Times](,0,6212198.story), was a response to federal immigration enforcement programs which have "eroded the public trust," Beck said. The shift, which the Los Angeles Times reports would affect roughly 400 people, would alter current agreements with the federal government which allow immigration officials to peer into the databases of those who are booked in Los Angeles jails and request people with potential immigration violations be held on a detainer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement then will come and detain a person and begin looking into a person’s deportability. The programs make those who care about civil and immigrant rights, as well as an increasing number of law enforcement agencies, uncomfortable. Typically immigration issues are civil violations, but the merging of law and immigration enforcement can make the public uncomfortable and discourage people from reporting crimes or serving as witnesses for fear that their immigration status could land them in deportation proceedings.