LAPD Chief Beck Supports ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill Hailed as ‘Constitutional’ by Eric Holder

Former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, center, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck listen to state Senate leader Kevin de León at a news conference on June 19, 2017. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck for the first time offered his full support for a bill that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from carrying out immigration laws, calling it an important proposal that protects the trust between his department and the neighborhoods it polices.

“This is not a soft-on-crime bill,” Beck said Monday at a Los Angeles news conference, with former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. “This is not an anti-law enforcement bill. This is a bill that displays courage. The courage of Californians, the courage of Angelenos to understand that when we stand together we are much more effective than when we stand apart.”

The endorsement is a boon for De León (D-Los Angeles), who authored Senate Bill 54 and has grappled with opposition from law enforcement groups over claims that it could weaken their ability to detain dangerous or repeat criminals. It came as Holder unveiled a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions arguing that the legislation “is constitutional and not preempted by federal law.”

Holder was temporarily hired by the Senate and Assembly to serve as outside counsel to offer advice on the state’s legal strategy against the incoming administration. He and his firm, Covington & Burling, analyzed the legislation as part of that contract and concluded “states have the power over the health and safety of their residents and allocation of state resources.”

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