LA to stop detaining suspects for ICE without judge's order

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The LAPD says it will no longer hold suspects for federal immigration authorities unless it's on a judge's order. (KABC)

It's a major change that could impact hundreds of undocumented immigrants: The LAPD says it will no longer hold suspects for federal immigration authorities unless it's on a judge's order.

Under the Secure Communities program, federal immigration officials can request local law enforcement to hold someone who is arrested and in the country illegally. The LAPD will no longer honor those detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"The federal government is in charge of enforcing federal immigration laws, not us at the local level, and that responsibility can't be forced onto local law enforcement," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The chief says it will detain people if there is a judge's order or a warrant. He says this will build trust in the community. He stresses violent criminals will not be released.

"When people commit severe crimes, they're held in custody for a long time," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "And so those people, whether a detainer or not is issued, will face the criminal justice system."

ICE released a statement: "While some aliens may be arrested on minor criminal charges, they may also have more serious criminal backgrounds .... ICE anticipates that law enforcement agencies will comply with immigration detainers."

This comes as protesters took their message to the steps of the federal building in downtown Los Angeles. A group called Families for Freedom is concerned about the thousands of children who are entering the U.S.

"We ask that they stop expanding detention centers, that they stop putting children into detention centers, that whenever possible they be reunited with their families here," said protester Leisy Abrego.

Opponents say they have compassion for what is happening, but they say illegal immigration comes with a cost.

"It has a real impact on people in the United States. It affects people's jobs. It affects their children's education. It affects how their tax dollars are spent," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "There are limits to what this country can do. We simply can't say that anybody on the face of the planet who is dissatisfied with where they are living can come and live in the United States."

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