Activists Urge LAPD To Do More to Shield Immigrants

The ACLU and other immigration advocates told the Los Angeles Police Commission Tuesday that the LAPD should adopt policies to further protect people living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

At a hearing focused on the Department's policies -- that generally prohibit officers from assisting with immigration enforcement -- ACLU attorney Michael Kaufman said officers simply stopping and questioning someone on the street could cause that person to be targeted for removal from the U.S.

"It is critical for the Department to continue to lead on promoting measures that will assure immigrant community members that they can cooperate with the police," he said.

He suggested the LAPD formally support the state senate bill that would prohibit law enforcement in California from cooperating with federal immigration agents, reducing the number of pedestrian stops conducted by officers, and eliminating, 'low level arrests,' such as those for graffiti and, "pranks."

"Those kind of tactics also demean the individuals that are affected, and cause animosity and distrust between the affected individuals and the police," Kaufman said.

The Commission scheduled the hearing to learn about the LAPD's policies and orders and to discuss if those rules should change in light of the Trump Administration's executive orders and threats about withholding funding to so-called "sanctuary cities."

The Department has for years instructed officers not to question an individual's immigration status or assist with civil immigration enforcement matters.

In 2014 it stopped honoring virtually all civil immigration detention requests sent by federal agencies, and it restricts officers who work on task forces with federal agents from conducting any immigration related investigative work.

Chief Charlie Beck and other LAPD officials have said those rules are critical for maintaining the trust of the community so crimes are reported and witnesses cooperate with investigations.

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