L.A. immigration policy: ID cards, deportation by LAPD [Live discussion]
Times reporters Catherine Saillant and Joel Rubin will join City Editor Shelby Grad at 12:30 p.m. PST for a live discussion on immigration policy and recent moves by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
A handful of cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, issue identification cards to anyone who can prove residency, regardless of immigration status. Villaraigosa said it's time that Los Angeles — home to an estimated 4.3-million immigrants — joined them.
A City Council committee on Tuesday is scheduled to consider a plan backed by Villaraigosa for a city photo-identification card that would help immigrants get access to banking services.
"It will be an official ID," Villaraigosa said in a recent interview.
Critics said Villaraigosa's proposal is the latest indication that Los Angeles leaders are taking an increasingly supportive view of undocumented immigrants as they encourage them to join in the city's civic life.
Earlier this month, Beck announced that hundreds of illegal immigrants arrested by his officers each year in low-level crimes would no longer be turned over to federal authorities for deportation.
The new rules, which are expected to affect about 400 people arrested each year, mark a dramatic attempt by the nation's second-largest police department to distance itself from federal immigration policies that Beck says unfairly treat undocumented immigrants suspected of committing petty offenses.
It's the latest in a series of moves by Beck to redefine the Los Angeles Police Department's position on immigration issues. Earlier this year, the chief pushed through a controversial plan that limits the cases in which police officers impound vehicles of drivers operating without a license — a group consisting largely of illegal immigrants. And he came out in favor of issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Photo: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a news conference in October. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press