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Parks: LAPD Immigration Checks Would Erode Community Trust

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A former Los Angeles police chief and current City Councilman said on Monday the city could risk losing the trust of the community if it fails to pass a bill that allows jurisdictions to opt out of a federal immigration enforcement program.

The City Council is set to vote on Tuesday on a bill that would allow local governments to opt out of a controversial federal program in which fingerprints of arrestees are shared with immigration agents.

If approved, the measure proposed by City Councilman Bernard Parks would add Los Angeles to a growing list of cities and states that have questioned whether the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “Secure Communities” program is eroding trust between immigrants and police.

Parks, a former LAPD chief, told KNX 1070 that while the effort to tackle illegal immigration may be urgent, it shouldn’t come at the expense of allowing federal officials to become more actively involved in local enforcement operations.

“We can’t as a city be obligated to not only cover for the fact that the federal government doesn’t secure the borders, but also deteriorate a relationship from not just the Latino community, but across the board,” said Parks.

The City Council is slated to discuss on Tuesday whether to support a state bill to let local jurisdictions decide if they want to continue to participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities program.

The program enables immigration agents to check the fingerprints of arrestees against Homeland Security records. Officials say it aims to help identify and deport immigrants convicted of serious crimes.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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