Donald Trump galvanized millions of voters in America behind his promise to not only build a wall along the US-Mexico border, but to deport millions of undocumented citizens as well. However, those plans have hit the first of a suspected many snags to come.
The Los Angeles Police Department has declared that they won’t play a part in assisting President-elect Trump’s efforts to deport any immigrants within their jurisdiction, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I don’t intend on doing anything different,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. “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.”
For mote than 30 years, the LAPD has kept its distance when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. In 1979, a special order was mandated by then-chief Daryl Gates to prevent officers from interacting with individuals simply to inquire about their citizenship status. The LAPD has also moved away from the practice of turning undocumented citizens over to the federal government for low level crimes as well as holding them past their sentencing.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants without documentation in the U.S. live in Los Angeles County. Officials in the area have made multiple attempts to rest their concerns about their safety given the recent push by Trump and his supporters to strengthen federal immigration practices. The LAPD’s decision is just the latest.
“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,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department claim that they’ll continue their practice of treating all citizens with equal respect.
“We just want people to come forward so we have a better community. It doesn’t matter whether they’re an immigrant or going through the process of citizenship,” said Capt. Jeff Scroggin, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department. “Whatever it is, we want to hear from them. We don’t want them to not cooperate. It’s important to keep the community safe. We never ask about immigration status.”
As a final vote of confidence, Chief Beck reminded citizens that the election’s results haven’t suddenly changed the way the LAPD does their job.
“This is the same LAPD you had Monday, a week ago. We have not changed because of the election on Tuesday. We have the same principles. We have the same values,” he said. “This is not going to change the way that the Los Angeles Police Department enforces the law.”