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Chief Beck eases policy on illegal immigrant deportation

Citing an erosion of trust, the LAPD chief says illegal immigrants arrested in petty crimes won't be held for U.S. officials.

October 04, 2012|By Joel Rubin and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

ICE officials declined to address Beck's proposal directly, but seemed to bristle somewhat at Beck's move. "ICE has been dedicated to implementing smart, effective reforms to the immigration system that allow it to focus its resources on criminals, recent border crossers and repeat immigration law violators," Virginia Kice, an ICE spokesperson, said in a prepared statement. "The federal government alone sets these priorities and places detainers on individuals arrested on criminal charges to ensure that dangerous criminal aliens and other priority individuals are not released from prisons and jails into our communities."

Voices from both sides of the immigration debate weighed in immediately on Beck's plan.

"What the LAPD is doing is making federal law enforcement decisions, usurping federal law," said Janis Kephart, national security policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. "These policies create chaos where you absolutely need continuity of enforcement."

Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and other supporters of the vetoed Trust Act, praised Beck and tried to position themselves for future negotiations with him. "We look forward to working with the police chief … to craft a policy that protects Los Angeles from the disruptions caused by the dangerous" federal laws.

Beck acknowledged his proposal would leave advocates on both sides unsatisfied.

"What I'm doing won't go as far as what many want and it goes much further than other people think I should go," he said.

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