One of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promises was that he would deport all ‘criminal undocumented immigrants’, which would constitute more than three million people and a cost of several billion dollars. While this promise was one of his major selling points to a constituent base made up almost entirely of white nationalists, it may end up falling to the wayside just as so many other presidential promises have. Trump himself might still feel the strong desire to deport all those people, but he will have to convince those in existing positions of power to help.
Some of Trump’s supporters currently hold such positions of power, but many of those positions are held by upstanding citizens who have no desire to disrupt the status quo. One such man is the Police Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. Chief Charlie Beck has vowed that his department is will not change their stance of the enforcement of immigration laws, regardless of directives from Trump.
The LAPD has a long history dealing with immigration policies from the federal level, yet they have famously avoided dealing with such policies wherever possible. Officers from the LAPD are not allowed to interact with a citizen strictly under the guise of determining their legal status, and that order has been in place since it was signed by Daryl Gates in 1979. Gates was the Chief during that time, and his policies have stayed in effect since then.
Beck has continued that tradition by enacting his own prohibitions on LAPD officers. Beck has stopped his officers from handing illegal first-offenders or perpetrators of low level crimes to the deportation agents from the federal government. The department has also stopped honoring requests from federal agents to continue detaining inmates who could be legally deported after their release from jail.
During a recent press conference, Beck reiterated the LAPD’s stance on immigration policies and how they would continue to operate as they always have. Beck announced that he would not change the orders to avoid engaging someone purely over their citizenship status. He continued with a declaration that the LAPD would not work with Homeland Security during any deportation campaigns they might enact under President Trump. He rightly stated that deportation isn’t the job of the LAPD, and he would not work to make it their responsibility.
Trump has created a huge amount of fear and panic amongst immigrants and those closest to them. It was no secret that Trump targeted illegal immigration during his campaign, and his promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico only instills more worry and doubt about the future of the country for those who immigrated here. Trump has also promised to overturn immigration relief efforts that were enacted by President Obama.
The LAPD isn’t the only organization standing up for the rights of immigrants. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced at a meeting of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles that any decisions regarding immigration made by Trump would be scrutinized and questioned thoroughly by city officials. The announcement came as a way to help reduce the fears of the nearly one million undocumented immigrants currently residing in Los Angeles.
Garcetti went on to say that anything seen as hostility toward the people of Los Angeles, regardless of their legal status, would be spoken and acted against with the full force of the city. He also reiterated Police Chief Beck’s point that officers would not contact any individual strictly to check their legality. If the entire country stands up to any unjust immigration reform thrust upon the nation by Trump, there will be nothing to worry about.