LAPD not enforcing immigration law as city poised to become sanctuary city

The city of Los Angeles' Police Commission approved a report Tuesday providing details of the Los Angeles Police Department's continued commitment to not enforce immigration law, as city officials prepare to bring forth an ordinance officially making L.A. a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.

Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the 2022 report on Immigration Enforcement, Task Force Reporting Requirements and Department Operations, an annual report intended to ensure that the department does not participate in any enforcement actions involving immigration status violations.

According to the report, the LAPD received 783 detainer requests from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2022 — none of which were honored.

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The report also includes a breakdown of various joint task forces involving the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies conducted in 2022. In each case, no people were arrested for immigration enforcement purposes.

"Our top priority is public safety and building of trust, and the demonstration of our agency's transparency and outreach to all our immigrant communities," police officials said. "Our ongoing focus is to ensure the victims and witnesses are not afraid to contact the police, report crime or become witnesses as necessary, regardless of their immigration status.

"Our focus will always be to maximize public safety for all."

Police officials said they work with federal law enforcement agencies, include ICE and Homeland Security, on various operations to "help eliminate crimes impacting vulnerable communities." The law enforcement agencies work to address human trafficking, child pornography and other crimes, officials said.

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The LAPD participates in 20 interagency task forces, and in 2022 those task forces made 941 arrests.

LAPD officials reiterated that none of those arrests was related to immigration enforcement.

The report stated that the LAPD continues to comply with its Immigration Enforcement Procedures, a notice published by the Office of the Chief of Police reinforcing the department's commitment to the California Values Act.

That act, which took effect in January 2018, prevents California law enforcement agencies, including the LAPD, from using resources on behalf of federal immigration enforcement agencies. The law says certain sites such as schools, hospitals and courthouses are "safe spaces" for everyone in the community.

In addition, the LAPD in subsequent years refined its policies to remove questions related to a person's place of birth, unless warranted for an investigation of a criminal offense.

However, police said that anyone suspected of committing a crime is fingerprinted through the decentralized automated booking system and automated entry. Suspect are automatically entered into the National Crime Information Center, which is accessible to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The department's report comes at a time when the Los Angeles City Council is working to officially make Los Angeles a sanctuary city for immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

In June, the council approved a motion instructing the city attorney to prepare a draft ordinance within 60 days to prohibit "any city resources, property or personnel from being utilized for any federal immigration enforcement."

It would also prohibit city cooperation with federal immigration authorities in "execution of their duties" as it pertains to immigration enforcement. The motion would create an officials ordinance and would codify existing protections set forth by former Mayor Eric Garcetti in his 2019 executive directive.

Council members will consider the ordinance sometime after they return from summer recess Aug. 1.