With a large Hispanic population, Los Angeles has been one of several large USA municipalities to have resisted new federal immigration policies under President Trump, who has promised to toughen laws against the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S.
The head of the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday warned of a "strong correlation" between dramatic drops in violent crimes being reported by Hispanics in Los Angeles and fears of being deported, suggesting that the community may be avoiding contact with local law enforcement in the wake of immigration polices favored by the Trump administration. "While there is no direct evidence that the decline is related to concerns within the Hispanic community regarding immigration, the Department believes deportation fears may be preventing Hispanic members of the community from reporting when they are victimized", the LAPD said in a written statement.
The LAPD in 2014 stopped honoring ICE detainers "without a warrant signed by the court", Garcetti said.
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck said he hoped the order would increase immigrant's trust in the police. "I think all the mayors on this call are just too pro-family to see families divided, are too pro-law enforcement to see our law enforcement officials turned away from their local law enforcement responsibilities to become immigration agents", Garcetti said during the press call.
United States police departments often worry about immigration enforcement interfering in their interactions with immigrant communities, eroding trust that is necessary to effectively combat crime.
"Imagine someone being the victim of domestic violence and not calling the police", he said.
"We strive to be a city where neighbors know each other, care for one another and build our social fabric", Tait wrote.
"Imagine a young woman-imagine your daughter, sister, mother, your friend-not reporting a sexual assault because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart", he said during an appearance with Mayor Eric Garcetti.
"We have entire communities of people feeling like it's no longer safe or feasible for them to report crime", said Jacquie Marroquin, director of programs for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
Still, on Tuesday, the mayor signed an executive directive saying no city employee or official will cooperate with the federal government in identifying, detaining or deporting illegal immigrants.
The city executive action also aims to protect individuals' immigration information, requiring that data on someone that can be used to learn their immigration status be treated as confidential information under existing city policy.
The mayor also stopped by the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, also known as CHIRLA, to encourage immigrants to seek help from community organizations.