LOS ANGELES — The chief of police in America’s second largest city has vowed not to cooperate with President Trump’s immigration policies.
“That is not our job, nor will I make it our job,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told The Los Angeles Times.
Beck has promised not to cooperate with the Trump administration even if it means a loss of federal funds for his department. Beck’s position is that threatening deportation will make crime worse by deterring those people from cooperating with police during criminal investigations.
“In the mid-1990s, when the state cracked down [on] illegal immigration, all we did was drive people underground,” Beck said.
There are around 500,000 illegal immigrants living in Los Angeles, Beck estimated.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has a formal policy of not cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement efforts that dates back to 1979, Beck pointed out. The policy even has a name: Special Order 40.
“When you create a shadow population … that fears any interaction” with police, he said, “then you create a whole population of victims, because they become prey for human predators who extort them or abuse them because they know they won’t contact the police.”
Another problem Beck faces is that 47 percent of his police force is Latino, and many of them have “blended families” – that is, some relatives who are legal and others who are not, he told The Times.
“To think the fabric of Los Angeles is going to change [through a legal edict],” Beck said, “denies our history.”
“We couldn’t deport 500,000 people if we wanted to, and if we did, it would be at the expense of public safety,” Beck said.
The solution to the illegal immigration problem, Beck said, is to help boost Mexico’s economy.
“We have a very rich country with a lot of opportunity that is immediately adjacent to a poorer country with less opportunity,” he said.
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