Departing LAPD Chief Warns Against Using Local Cops Against Illegal Immigrants

October 27, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

The departing chief of the Los Angeles Police Department jumped into the fray today over the controversial 287(g) program in the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

Opening with a story about an undocumented homeless immigrant who gave the LAPD an important tip that helped that helped them crack the case of a mysterious murder, Police Chief William Bratton writes that “every day our effectiveness is diminished because immigrants living and working in our communities are afraid to have any contact with the police. A person reporting a crime should never fear being deported, but such fears are real and palpable for many of our immigrant neighbors.”

Bratton is one of many senior law enforcement officials around the country who’ve complained that the 287(g) program, which allows the federal government to enter into agreements that give local police authority to enforce federal immigration laws, leads many immigrants to mistrust local cops altogether and refuse to cooperate them. That’s why, as TWI has reported, 56 police chiefs in major cities across the country have opposed the program.

Today, Bratton chastised Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for expanding the program to 11 more locations. Now 67 state and local law enforcement agencies are essentially acting as immigration agents for ICE — and potentially scaring off illegal immigrant witnesses to crimes in the process.

“My officers can’t prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported,” Bratton wrote, explaining why the LAPD refused to participate in the program.

Bratton cited a report by the Police Foundation — a research organization focusing on crime and law enforcement — that reaches the same conclusion.