Opinion: L.A. police put new piece in immigration policy patchwork


Posted: 12/12/2012 10:00:08 AM PST
December 12, 2012 6:15 PM GMTUpdated: 12/12/2012 10:15:02 AM PST

Los Angeles has new details today about the police department's shrinking participation in the Secure Communities program, under which local cops share arrestees' fingerprints with federal immigration authorities.

Chief Charlie Beck had announced in October that the LAPD would stop honoring federal requests to detain illegal immigrants arrested for other crimes -- at least those nabbed for non-serious offenses -- for 48 hours until U.S. agents come and get them. L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca followed up with a similar change in his department's policy last week. That sparked an editorial here today.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued new guidelines last week that made participation in Secure Communities voluntary.
The editorial board believes questions about what to do with suspected illegal immigrants should be settled not by individual law-enforcement agencies but by lawmakers on the state level and -- better sooner than later -- in Congress.
In fact, a new bill regarding Secure Communities has been introduced in the California Assembly.
Tuesday, the L.A. Police Commission acted on Beck's request and set a policy to no longer honor detention requests for arrestees assigned bail of less than $5,000. The policy is to take effect in January and its effect examined after six months.
Details of the sheriff's new policy are to come.
State and federal lawmakers must work urgently to replace this patchwork of immigration policies with a cohesive plan.  
-- Opinion staff



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