The city of Los Angeles has joined Orange County, Riverside County, and other cities nationwide in ending the practice of holding illegal immigrant inmates past their scheduled release dates, characterizing the practice as “unconstitutional” under a recent federal court ruling.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and police Chief Charlie Beck announced the decision in a joint statement released Monday, according to NBC News.
“Until this area of the law is further clarified by the courts, effective immediately the Los Angeles Police Department will no longer honor immigration detainer requests submitted by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” the statement read.
In addition to the Oregon federal court’s recent ruling, Garcetti and Beck cited a special “law enforcement bulletin” authored by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“When local law enforcement officials are seen as de facto immigration enforcers, it erodes the trust between our peace officers and the communities they serve,” Harris wrote. “Federal immigration detainers are voluntary, and this bulletin supports the TRUST Act and law enforcement leaders’ discretion to utilize resources in the manner that best serves their communities.”
ICE, for its part, hopes that Los Angeles law enforcement officers will continue to comply with illegal immigrant detainer requests despite Harris’ bulletin, citing safety concerns.
“When law enforcement agencies turn criminals over to ICE rather than releasing them into the community, it enhances public safety and the safety of law enforcement,” ICE said in a statement. “To further this shared goal, ICE anticipates that law enforcement agents will comply with immigration detainers.”
Late last month, Orange County became the latest municipality to end the controversial illegal immigrant detainers, joining 140 other towns that already have the restriction on the books. According to the Orange County Register, O.C. authorities will instead notify ICE as illegal immigrant inmates are released so that they can be picked up immediately after walking out the jailhouse doors.