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Santa Monica Police Ends Agreement with Federal Immigration Authorities  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

March 17, 2017 -- Responding to what she called “community concerns,” Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks announced in an open letter released Wednesday that her department would end its operational agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The announcement comes a little more than a week after the City Council passed a resolution stating Santa Monica would not assist with federal immigration enforcement (“Santa Monica Confronts President in Council Resolution, Mayor’s Letter,” March 6, 2017).

Seabrooks also announced in December that the City has long had a policy of not enforcing immigration laws.

This week’s announcement by Seabrooks does not get into specific details about the Santa Monica Police Department’s (SMPD) agreement with ICE.

It states that ICE is among many regional, State and federal agencies the City has agreements with to help with criminal investigations “involving gang interdiction, organized crime, human trafficking, transnational drug trafficking, money laundering, currency smuggling, crimes involving high levels of technology and those involving potential acts of terrorism.”

Also, Deputy Police Chief Alfonso Venegas told the City Council earlier this month that the department works with ICE to deal with traffic control and related matters when the federal agency is conducting an operation “so big it’s affecting the community”

Seabrooks wrote that in addition to being a response to community concerns, the decision to end the agreement with ICE was made “to reaffirm the police department’s steadfast commitment to its longstanding policy against immigration enforcement while also ensuring consistency with the [council’s] resolution.”

The SMPD and ICE “will work toward terms of collaboration on criminal matters that are in line with the City’s immigration policies,” Seabroks wrote.

She added that the department is reviewing agreements with other agencies “to ensure consistency with City polices.”

Seabrooks’ letter was posted to the SMPD’s Facebook page, receiving numerous responses--both in favor and against.

“Sad is all I can say,” one comment read. “I grew up there in the '50s, '60s and '70s and never would think such an outstanding Santa Monica Police Department would turn its back on the law of the land. Shame.”

Another person wrote, “SMPD always on the forefront of the needs of the city. Handling law abiding immigrants in a clear, calm and compassionate way while still addressing the criminal element as a separate issue.”

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