Virginia Coalition of Police
and Deputy Sheriffs
L.A. Police Sued Over Immigrant Policy
Apr 12, 2007
By PETER PRENGAMAN
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - 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
The department prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of
suspects, a policy strongly supported by Police Chief William Bratton and Mayor
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of unidentified police officers who are afraid
to speak out but argue the policy creates a situation where the same illegal
immigrants are repeatedly arrested when they could have been deported, lawyer
David Klehm said.
"Everyone I spoke to told me their hands were tied with this policy," Klehm
The lawsuit relies on a section of the state's Health and Safety Code that
states that in drug cases involving a non-citizen, "the arresting agency shall
notify the appropriate agency of the United States having charge of
Los Angeles police officers do not ask about immigration status while
interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects, and do not arrest people based on
Officers do involve immigration officials if a suspect is a gang member who has
been previously deported or if a suspect is arrested for a felony or multiple
Bratton has argued that the police department does not have the resources to
work as immigration agents.
Klehm, an anti-illegal immigration activist based in Orange County, filed a
similar lawsuit against the San Jose Police Department a few weeks ago.