L.A. Mayor: 10,000 Cops Can’t Enforce Immigration Law on 500,000 Illegals--Even If They Wanted To

By Penny Starr | November 30, 2016 | 9:39pm EST
(AP Photo)

National Public Radio reported last week on Los Angeles’ status as a sanctuary city -- one of a number of American cities where authorities refuse to enforce federal immigration laws by allowing law enforcement to check on the legal status of residents. In that Nov. 24 interview, Mayor Eric Garcetti said it would be hard to enforce the law, even if he wanted to.

“Wouldn't the Los Angeles police cooperate with federal law enforcement with other sorts of crimes, if you were investigating terrorism, for example, or racketeering, interstate crimes - any number of things?” Steve Inskeep, host of “Morning Edition,” asked Garcetti.

“Well, let's be clear about the scale of this,” said Garcetti, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, according to NPR. “We think there's as many as about 500,000 undocumented residents of Los Angeles and a police force of 10,000.

“I would have to stop my police officers investigating murders, looking at rapes, looking at the gang crimes, dealing with, you know, drug cartels,” Garcetti said. “We would stop all of that work if we were tasked with immigration enforcement.

“The numbers are so large,” Garcetti said.

Inskeep asked Garcetti about his willingness to “defy the federal government over its immigration instructions.”

“We abide by not necessarily what just the executive branch does, but what the Constitution says,” Garcetti said. “If the courts have said that in order to have a detainer that we take local law enforcement and a suspect and hand them over to federal immigration officials, there should be a warrant for that.

“So I kind of take the Constitution as my guide more than who is in the White House at any given time, but I think that this administration should and will abide by that Constitution, as well,” Garcetti said. “If people overstep the Constitution, we certainly will continue to be both a constitutional city and a welcoming city for immigrants, and those will be our guideposts.”

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