The city of Los Angeles announced Monday that it will no longer honor requests from federal immigration officials to detain undocumented immigrants for possible deportation without either a court order or arrest warrant, citing constitutional concerns raised by recent court decisions.
In announcing the decision, Mayor Eric Garcetti and police Chief Charlie Beck cited a recent decision by a federal judge in Oregon who found that local authorities violated the 4th Amendment rights of an undocumented immigrant held for two weeks on an ICE hold despite being eligible for release. Specifically, the judge found that such detainers lacked the necessary legal underpinnings, such as probable cause or a judicial determination, required to hold a suspect for a longer period.
They also cited a bulletin to law enforcement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris last week questioning the legality of the detentions.
“Until this area of the law is further clarified by the courts, effective immediately the Los Angeles Police Department will no longer honor immigration detainer requests submitted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” Garcetti and Beck said in a statement.
The decision by Los Angeles comes amid an escalating debate over U.S. immigration policy, fueled by questions over whether tens of thousands of undocumented Central American children who recently entered the U.S. illegally will be deported or allowed to stay. President Obama has vowed to ask Congress this week for added funding to deal with the the children and families’ cases.