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Santa Monica to Continue Non-Enforcement of Immigration Laws, Police Chief Says
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

December 2, 2016 -- President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to crack down on illegal immigration will have no effect on Santa Monica’s long-held policy not to enforce immigration laws, Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks wrote in a statement that appears on the City’s website.

SMPD will continue its decades-old policy and practice of leaving the enforcement of immigration violations to the federal authorities, Seabrooks wrote.

"By maintaining its long-standing practice of not enforcing immigration laws, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) continues to enhance community safety by ensuring the focus remains on equitable treatment, police-community cooperation and enhancing community safety,”

A concern by the police department is that persons worried about being deported might be afraid to report a crime that they are a victim of or a witness to, Seabrooks wrote.

That issue has been raised by officials in other cities that also have a policy of not enforcing immigration laws.

"As has traditionally been the case and will continue to be, SMPD officers do not inquire as to a person's documented status," Seabrooks wrote. "The only exception to this practice is if the person’s immigration status is materially relevant to another criminal offense or investigation."

Trump promised to strongly enforce immigration laws during his campaign. He has reiterated that since being elected, including telling a 60 Minutes interviewer that he would immediately deport as many as 3 million people who "have criminal records."

At a Thursday night rally in Ohio, Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence said illegal immigration would end entirely.

The City Council, which has passed resolutions and taken actions on the issue of illegal immigration in the past, has so far not said anything official following Trump's election last month.

The Lookout contacted Mayor Tony Vazquez about his personal opinion on the issue and if he planned to call for the council to make a statement or take action. He did not respond prior to the publication deadline.

Vazquez was born in Mexico and came to the United States as a young child in the 1950s. He became a United States citizen in 1978, according to a 1990 article in the Los Angeles Times.

Among actions the council has taken on illegal immigration was a boycott of Arizona in 2010 following that state's passage of an enforcement law. The boycott was not repealed until this year (“Santa Monica Council Repeals Arizona Boycott,” July 1, 2016).

Also, earlier this year Santa Monica joined various other cities to support President Obama’s executive action that would have allowed many people who were technically in this country illegally to remain (“Santa Monica Council Calls for Implementation of Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration,” March 4, 2016).

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