By Ariel Romo
Approximately 8,000 people marched in protest at an anti-Donald Trump rally in downtown Los Angeles Nov. 12.
Many used signs and chants to speak out about policies President-elect Trump based his campaign on, including a pledge to toughen federal immigration policies and deport millions of people as soon as he takes office.
According to an article by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 14, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck stated he has no plans to change the department’s stance on immigration enforcement.
In other words ” he will not help deport immigrants.
While this may appear insubordinate, it should not.
Beck is right. A local police department has no obligation to pursue federal mandates that are the responsibility of the federal government unless the state government adopts similar legislation. Currently, California has no such legislation.
While it may not be politically correct to make such a statement, Beck’s stance should be supported for several reasons.
First and foremost, such a task could be a severe drain on a city’s resources. In 1995, Los Angeles Times staff writer John Johnson wrote about the overburdened LAPD’s struggle to keep up with its workload. Johnson’s research found that the LAPD is understaffed and ill-equipped for the amount of crime it experiences on a daily basis.
Beck and the department should not be tasked with a responsibility that is well-documented as requiring a substantial amount of manpower without the promise of federal resources.
It is not surprising that Beck would come out immediately in order to prepare himself and the city for such an enforcement request should it come up in the near future.
Secondly, Los Angeles prides itself in being a diverse culture.
According to a study from USC, 3.5 million immigrants live in Los Angeles County.
If thousands decided to march because of Trump’s election, there would be a larger movement against the deportation of millions of immigrants.
Keeping such a tight line as the President-elect has announced could create chaos in the heart of southern California.
KTVU reports tear gas was used on demonstrators in Oakland, California when crowds set off fireworks and threw rocks and bottles.
Clearly, taking on immigration locally could result in rioting and disruption of services.
At a time when we are most in need of unity, local immigration enforcement could prove to be a disaster.
It is no secret that California is a Democratic state, as blue as they come. Beck has the support of City Council, the community and the majority of the state. Positioning the city early on could have a domino effect on other departments following suit.
Perhaps Beck’s bold stand could prove to be the start of California standing up for human rights and standing against bigotry.
Could this be the start of California’s secession from the Union?
That may be going a bit too far. Thankfully, we have the first amendment. I’m certain Beck agrees with that as well.
Ariel Romo is passionate about politics.
Courtesy of Alex Silva
Thousands of people who marched in Los Angeles last Saturday
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