Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has signified a victory among immigrant rights activists by revealing that he plans to refrain from handing over immigrants who could face potential deportation following arrest from low level crime.
The Secure Communities program that was launched in 2008, was set up to aid U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as well as local law enforcement agencies to deport illegal immigrants who have been arrested low level crimes for crimes. Under this initiative the program saw a record number of immigrants deported in 2011.
Beck believes that illegal immigrants who commit low level or “low grade” offenses should not be subject to federal detentions under the program. “The LAPD is proposing to no longer grant an ICE detainer request without first reviewing the seriousness of the offense for which the person is being held, as well as their prior arrest history and gang involvement,” Beck said.
Beck also believes that one of the surrounding issues around immigration is community trust, making a reference to cases where he had seen the detention of illegal immigrants unnecessarily splitting up families.
If the proposed policy of Beck is progressed, it could see a drop of 400 illegal immigrants out of the 3400 ICE detainer requests within his department per year. He did go on to say that he will honor ICE detention requests on all felonies, but his goal is to implement the new protocols by 1st January 2013.