(CN) – A California appeals court on Wednesday upheld the use of Special Order 40, a decades-old policy prohibiting Los Angeles police officers from using immigration status to initiate investigations. The three-judge panel affirmed a lower court’s finding that the special order is constitutional.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California that lifting the policy would further strain the relationship between immigrants and authorities.
The ACLU in 2006 sued the city on behalf of community groups representing victims of domestic violence and day laborers to stop the city from spending money enforcing the policy.
Police chiefs and experts throughout the United States agree that locally enforcing federal immigration law neither builds trust in immigrant communities nor is it consistent with police authority.
Because of Los Angeles’ deep immigrant roots, Special Order 40 was adopted in 1979 as a way to encourage immigrants to cooperate with police without having to fear deportation.
Belinda Escobosa, staff attorney for the ACLU, called the panel’s decision “the final chapter in what has frankly been a misguided challenge to a sound policy.”