Law and Border: LA Ceases Detention of Undocumented Immigrants Without Court Order or Warrant

Citing constitutional concerns, the city of Los Angeles announced yesterday that they have put a halt to detaining undocumented immigrants for ICE without either a court order or and arrest warrant.

In announcing the decision, Mayor Eric Garcetti and police Chief Charlie Beck cited a recent decision by a federal judge in Oregon who found that local authorities violated the 4th Amendment rights of an undocumented immigrant held for two weeks on an ICE hold despite being eligible for release. Specifically, the judge found that such detainers lacked the necessary legal underpinnings, such as probable cause or a judicial determination, required to hold a suspect for a longer period.

They also cited a bulletin to law enforcement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris last week questioning the legality of the detentions.

The decision by the City of Los Angeles comes amidst a renewed debate about illegal immigration in the wake news that undocumented children are crossing the borders in droves. In a statement today, Mayor Garcetti and Police Chief Beck said, “Until this area of the law is further clarified by the courts, effective immediately the Los Angeles Police Department will no longer honor immigration detainer requests submitted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).”

The City of Los Angeles joins other cities that have bucked ICE on this issue and stopped what they believe are unlawful detainers, “including Philadelphia, Cook County, Ill., Newark, N.J., and other areas in California.”

In related immigration news today, in Texas, a militia group is heading to the border with members that are “both armed and unarmed — to voluntarily guard private property in the Laredo area and other Texas locations.” These vigilantes in Texas could learn a few things from Los Angeles.

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