Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says he won't order his officers to comply with President Donald Trump's plan to utilize local police departments to help federal authorities arrest and deport illegal immigrants.
Beck's comments came in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"This is not our job, nor will I make it our job," Beck said of Trump's immigration plan in November, according to the Times.
But even if it was their job, Beck told a Times columnist that it would not be feasible or safe to deport all of the illegal immigrants living in Los Angeles, given that it would require the entire LAPD force.
"We couldn’t deport 500,000 people if we wanted to, and if we did, it would be at the expense of public safety," Beck said, explaining that it would require police officers to focus on tracking down immigrants instead of combatting crime.
More from the Times:
If undocumented immigrants are convicted of violent felonies, Beck thinks they should serve their time and then be deported. But the crime rate is no greater among immigrants than the rest of the population, he said.
Beck said he doesn’t want to poke the new president in the eye. But with 40 years of experience, he thinks he understands his city and how to best police it, and he’s not inclined to bow to simple-minded political rhetoric.
And even if Trump does require local agencies to assist federal law enforcement agencies in deporting immigrants, Beck told the Times that he will still disobey Trump given his personal convictions — even if it costs his city millions in federal aid dollars.
"I’d risk losing my beliefs," Beck said if he were to comply with Trump. "There’s not a price for me to do this differently."
During his interview Beck also explained that he thinks a better way to combat America's illegal immigration problem would be to help strength the economies of Mexico and other Central American countries.
"We have a very rich country with a lot of opportunity that is immediately adjacent to a poorer country with less opportunity," Beck said of the economic disparity between America and counties to our south.
In addition, Beck said that cracking down on illegal immigration would have adverse effects on crime, likely causing a spike because illegal immigrants would be too afraid to openly report crime, causing them to become a victim population.
"When you create a shadow population … that fears any interaction” with police, Beck told the Times, “then you create a whole population of victims, because they become prey for human predators who extort them or abuse them because they know they won’t contact the police."
"In the mid-1990s, when the state cracked down [on] illegal immigration, all we did was drive people underground," he explained.
"So that helped me realize we’re doing this wrong,” the police chief added. “We have a system set up here that is penalizing people we should be protecting, and that’s when we started to change the impound procedures."
According to the Associated Press, Trump definitely wants to recruit local law enforcement agencies to help federal agencies combat illegal immigration.