A proposal to go after gang members who are in the country illegally gained support Thursday from Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, who said he will seek to amend an LAPD policy that currently bars police officers from asking arrestees about their legal status.
The councilman, who has spent almost 40 years with the Los Angeles Police Department -- in recent years as a reserve officer -- will introduce a motion Friday asking that Special Order 40 be amended to allow police officers to notify federal immigration officials of gang members who are in the United States illegally.
Special Order 40 prohibits Los Angeles police officers from questioning or arresting suspects based solely on their immigration status. The order is intended to encourage illegal immigrants to report crimes and assist police.
While this proposal is a good start, going only after gang members that are illegal is not enough. If someone is here illegally and they have committed a crime, the police must find this out and they must contact the proper authorities, normally ICE. By limiting the law to only gang members, localities will still be stricken with drunk drivers, thieves, and other criminals that are here illegally.
There frankly shouldn't be a debate on this. If someone is here illegally and they have committed or are suspected of committing a crime, they must be deported. In order for this to happen the local authorities must determine their legal status and then report any illegals to the proper authorities. Had this happened in the case of Pedro Espinoza then Jamiel Shaw would still be alive. Just because Espinoza happened to also be a gang member doesn't mean the next violent act by criminal illegal will be done by a gang member.