Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck for the first time his offered his full support for a bill that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from carrying out immigration laws, calling it an important proposal that protects the trust between his department and the neighborhoods it polices.
“This is not a soft-on-crime bill,” Beck said Monday at a Los Angeles news conference, with former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. “This is not an anti-law enforcement bill. This is a bill that displays courage. The courage of Californians, the courage of Angelenos to understand that when we stand together we are much more effective than when we stand apart.”
The endorsement is a boon for De León (D-Los Angeles), who authored Senate Bill 54 and has grappled with opposition from law enforcement groups over claims that it could weaken their ability to detain dangerous or repeat criminals.
Senate Bill 54, the so-called sanctuary state bill would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security, from using resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for immigration enforcement.
To address some concerns from police chiefs and sheriffs, De León amended the legislation to allow local and state officers to participate in task forces — and work alongside federal immigration officers — as long as their main purpose is not immigration enforcement. Other changes have loosened communication restrictions between local law enforcement agencies and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials concerning violent felons.
The latest provisions also allow law enforcement officers to contact and transfer people to ICE, with a judicial warrant, if they encounter someone who was previously deported for a violent felony. And they permit law enforcement to transfer or detain a person at the request of ICE if a judge finds there is probable cause to do so, the Los Angeles Times reports.