Prisons

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, an Illegal Immigrant?

|


From the LA Times:

Illegal immigration opponents have sued the Los Angeles Police Department, taking aim at its long-standing policy of ignoring most suspects' immigration status.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Superior Court seeks to force officers to inform federal immigration officials when illegal immigrants are arrested on drug charges.

The department prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects, a policy strongly supported by Police Chief William Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The policy makes sense for local cops, as I once argued while in the "hot seat" (as the Big O himself informed me) on the O'Reilly Factor once a couple of years back; in a community filled with immigrants of questionable legal status, it's generally better for cop-community relations if immigrants don't fear every interaction with a cop could end in potential deportation. (I can also support the policy on general federalism grounds–on issues like this, why not let local police decide what policy best serves their community, rather than becoming enforcers of federal policy?)

O'Reilly gave me in the earpiece just before the camera rolled wisdom I've kept in mind in many situations since then: "Don't give us any pie in the sky stuff, Doherty–stick to the facts!" As I recall from actually watching the show later, he showed B-roll footage of angry looking shirtless Hispanic youth waving their arms menacingly while I talked.