DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Chief Charlie Beck reiterated his stance that the Los Angeles Police Department would not aid in the deportation of immigrants under President-elect Donald Trump during a press conference on Tuesday.
"...It's so important for local law enforcement to be separate on general immigration enforcement than federal government," Beck stated. "Because we have a completely different role than the federal government does in keeping our communities safe. They have an appropriate role, but so do we, and ours will not be furthered by being the immigration police."
"The federal government has the primary, by statue, role of enforcing immigration law," he said. "It is a federal statue. There are multiple federal laws the police agencies, including mine, do not enforce. We don't enforce the tax codes, we don't enforce the ag (agriculture) codes and generally we don't enforce immigration laws."
The statements come as concerns grow among those in opposition to Trump due to his pledge to toughen federal immigration laws.
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Beck pointed to the working relationship between the LAPD and immigrant communities, stating that if his officers had to begin enforcing federal immigration laws it would break the trust of Angelenos.
"Local policing needs the cooperation of the majority of the folks who live within their jurisdiction. Over 500,000 Angelenos, people who live in Los Angeles, are undocumented immigrants," Beck said.
"I need their cooperation. I need them to work with their local police stations. I need them to be witnesses to violent crimes. I need them to be the heart of the fabric of Los Angeles if we're going to keep this city safe," he continued. "For a local law enforcement agency to take on the role of immigration enforcement (it) tears that fabric apart."
When asked about the possibility of losing federal funds due to his stance, Beck said he wouldn't change the posture of the LAPD based on money or the results of the election.
"Losing federal funds is a big deal. We would not like to lose federal funds. But I'll tell you this, whether or not I do the right thing is not a matter of money. This is a matter of principal. This is a matter of something I believe is a core value of the Los Angeles Police Department that I think far transcends any other motivation," Beck stated.
The police chief went on to explain that his department works with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by running the names of arrested suspects through a national database.
Beck said if a suspect was wanted by the federal government, ICE would receive a notification that the suspect was in custody. He said it was up to ICE to reach out to the LAPD to ask for the suspect's release date. Beck stated his department would not hold a suspect after the release date due to law.
After thousands protested in the streets of Los Angeles over the weekend, Beck said he hoped to see America unite to resolve some of the issues at hand as the country moves forward following the election.
"After this particular election cycle and seeing America so divided, so shouting at each other, so not listening, so not working together, so not cooperating on issues that we have to resolve," Beck said. "We won't resolve these issues by mandating our own point of view on somebody else. The only way we will resolve these issues is by working together."