Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has reversed his support for a controversial deportation program, saying he will not comply with federal requests to detain suspected undocumented immigrants arrested in low-level crimes, it was reported today.
The turnaround follows a legal directive this week from California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who advised that compliance with the requests is discretionary, not mandatory.
Baca had said until now that he would honor the requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold some defendants for up to 48 hours, according to the Los Angeles Times.
With the about face, Baca joins Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck, who announced a similar policy in October. San Francisco and Santa Clara counties also decline to honor some types of ICE holds.
For the sheriff's department, the change may not take effect until early next year, after Baca's staff fleshes out the details of the new policy, which would apply only to misdemeanor suspects without significant criminal records, The Times reported.
The department would still honor federal detention requests for those accused of serious or violent crimes.
- City News Service