A Washington nonprofit government watchdog group that lobbies for immigration reform filed a lawsuit challenging the Los Angeles Police Department’s policy of generally prohibiting officers from asking about the immigration status of individuals and limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The suit by Judicial Watch seeks to prevent the LAPD from enforcing Special Order 40, adopted in 1979 by then-Police Chief Daryl F. Gates to encourage all people, regardless of their immigration status, to report crimes and cooperate with police, reports the city’s Times.
Without the local law, L.A. officials say, witnesses might be unwilling to come forward and some victims not seek police help. But critics of Special Order 40 cite the Costa Mesa Police and Orange County Sheriff’s departments, which have begun developing plans for officers to train alongside federal agents so they can help enforce immigration laws. The new lawsuit claims the law violates state and federal law by prohibiting the maximum cooperation between police and immigration authorities.