The LAPD has a history that it will honor — a history of its own orders and policies toward the undocumented — rather than help Trump with his.
The LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) just pushed back against the top priority of an imminent Trump administration. Chief of Police Charlie Beck said on Monday that the department will continue to pursue its own longstanding policy toward immigrants instead.
The LAPD Won’t Abandon Its Own Orders.
In 1979, then-chief Daryl Gates signed an order that officers could not initiate contact with individuals for the sole purpose of determining their legal status. That policy was augmented by Beck who stopped cooperating with federal on immigration issues. He refused to let the LAPD turn over people arrested for low-level crimes so that they could be deported by the feds. He also refused to honor federal requests to hold people who might be deportable beyond the length of their jail term.
Beck sought to reassure a Latino population made skittish by Donald Trump’s election. The LAPD Chief said:
We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status. We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.
If Trump thinks he can waltz into office and threaten the immigrant population, he may soon find out that he’s up against most of the state of California — at a minimum.
The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, staked out his position on Friday:
If the first day, as president, we see something that is hostile to our people, hostile to our city, bad for our economy, bad for our security, we will speak up, speak out, act up and act out.
U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris’ first appearance after the election was at an event held by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Harris, currently the Attorney General of California, showed up to reinforce her support for immigrants and to denounce Trump’s plan for a wall with Mexico.
‘This Is Who We Are.’
According to Harris, half of Californians were either born outside of the United States or have a parent who was. She, herself, is the child of immigrants. She told the audience:
This is who we are…
This issue of how we are treating our immigrants and, in particular, our undocumented immigrants, is one of the most critical issues facing our country.
Scratch the surface, and it’s who we all are. However, Latinos are under an increasing threat from this election. Harris recounted the effect of parents whose children are coming to them in fear:
We have so many children right now that are in pain, and they literally don’t know [if they will have to leave]. Parents are looking at their own children and saying, ‘I don’t know.’
Immigration reform has to be addressed; it is too integral to who we are to ignore. As Harris says, we need to answer children’s questions about their futures “sooner rather than later.”
California has a bigger stake in opposing Trump than most states. More than a quarter of the young people who are protected under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are in California. The state has integrated them into the fabric of daily life by allowing them to get driver’s licenses, healthcare coverage, and in-state tuition at its universities.
As in many U.S. cities, people across California have participated in anti-Trump protests, with 200 being arrested last Thursday in L.A. alone. The pushback against Trump’s anti-immigrant stance is already significant. It will no doubt gather both strength and fury as inauguration day approaches.
Feature photo, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, via Wikimedia Commons.