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Immigration

LAPD's Relaxed Unlicensed Driver Policy Challenged by D.C. Group

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Wed, May 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM

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An anti-illegal-immigrant group is suing the LAPD over its relaxed impound policy for unlicensed drivers.

Washington, D.C.-based Judicial Watch, which unsuccessfully sued the department over its policy prohibiting officers from investigating a person's immigration status, joins the L.A. police union in objecting to the new impound rule.

The department rolled back its 30-day impounds after ...

... it was criticized by immigrants' rights groups, which said the impounds unfairly affected the undocumlented, who can't legally get drivers licenses in California.

Now, in most cases, illegals can get their cars back after 1 day: Previously, a 30-day impound would essentially seize the most valuable thing in an undocumented's life, his car, because the $1,200 or so cost of getting the vehicle out of hawk was too high or often more than it was worth.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League argues that the policy will open cops up to lawsuits if an unlicensed driver ends up back on the street and kills or hurts someone.

But the city, the state and the department have said the rollback is legal under state law.

The Judicial Watch suit disputes that, saying L.A. doesn't have the right to regulate or modulate California vehicle code.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

This is yet another example of the Los Angeles Police Department's unlawful use of taxpayer dollars to further Los Angeles' status as a sanctuary city ... Unlicensed drivers - whether unlawfully present aliens or not - are a menace to the public safety. The Los Angeles Police Department is once again putting politics and ideology before the safety of citizens, police officers and the rule of law.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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