Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday that the Los Angeles Police Department will no longer comply with federal requests to detain undocumented immigrant inmates past their jail terms.
Garcetti said the new policy will help build community trust between undocumented immigrants and the LAPD.
“Washington may be stalling when it comes to immigration reform, but it is within our power here in Los Angeles to make real on-the-ground difference in the lives of everyday Angelenos,” Garcetti said during a news conference.
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The LAPD will only honor detention requests from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only if they have a judicial review. The move will allow officers to focus on more pressing issues, Garcetti said.
“I want us to be focused on gang crimes, getting drugs off our streets and stopping our gun violence,” Garcetti said. “So, on behalf of our taxpayers, we are saying ‘no more.’”
Last year, more than 50,000 people were arrested in the city, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Of those arrests, ICE issued 773 detainer requests and LAPD complied in more than 300 cases.
Beck believes the shift in policy will build a stronger relationship with the community, which in turn will lead to safer streets.
“That’s why this is so important,” Beck said. “This builds trust in a community that sometimes feels separated from not only it’s police department, but from the rest of city government.”
In the past Beck has voiced his support for allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses and skirting a mandatory 30-day impound rule following stops.
"I have a cousin, he was driving, then he passed the stop sign, but not really do a stop. So the police come and get him to the police station, go to the ice office," Olga Cordero said.
Cordero's cousin was sent to a detention center for 15 days and then deported to Mexico.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nashida told NBC News Monday that under department policy, ICE is notified when the department begins processing an undocumented inmate out of the jail, which can take days or weeks. Inmates are not held past their normal release date but Nashida said that two ICE buses arrive each day to pick up inmates.
She told NBC News that together with their law enforcement partners, the department is evaluating that policy to ensure that it complies with ‘best practices.’