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LA Police to Stop Seizing Cars of Illegal Immigrants

March 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES – In a move that would cause controversy just about anywhere else, the Los Angeles Police Department has eased a policy that led to impounding of cars being driven by suspected undocumented immigrants.

Police Chief Charlie Beck has ordered his officers to stop seizing cars of sober but unlicensed undocumented immigrants when they are stopped in sobriety checkpoints, KPCC-FM radio reports.

Instead, police will let those who were stopped have a “reasonable time” to find someone who is licensed to who can drive their car home. The change, advocated by immigration advocates, won’t apply to anyone suspected of being drunk behind the wheel or who is being sought by police. As one of the nation’s most closely watched and influential police agencies, the new LAPD policy may get a close look in other cities.

Interestingly, police will seize and impound cars of citizens and legal residents who also don’t have a driver’s license because they, unlike the illegal immigrants, hae the option of applying for one.

Beck said he made the change because those most affected by the change were otherwise law-abiding, hardworking people. KPPC says about 1,000 cars were impounded by police last year belonging to undocumented immigrants.

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