In an interview with last month, Patch raised an issue that the Los Angeles Times highlights in an opinion column Monday: Whether or not the vehicles of so-called illegal immigrants should be impounded if they are found driving without a drivers’ license—and the offending drivers let off with a citation.
Specifically, we asked Huizar: “Do you consider the City of L.A. to be a Sanctuary City in which the interests of illegal aliens—a legal term in the federal code books, not a derisive one—appears to be heavily favored while the general public’s interests become subordinate?”
Huizar responded by saying, in part, that although Los Angeles has not technically been declared a Sanctuary City, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck deserves kudos for his “administrative decision to allow these drivers to [retain] their cars, and allow [them] to be cited.”
Huizar defended Beck’s decision on the grounds that it’s not uncommon for the families of illegal immigrants found driving without a license to rely “on the automobile to get their kids to school—maybe it’s the only vehicle in that family that allows those families to get to work.”
In his Monday column, the editor of the Times’ editorial pages, Jim Newton, writes that “Beck's approach strikes me as humane and sensible.” He adds: “What's problematic is whether this really is his call to make.”
Newton argues that letting unlicensed drivers off by citing them and not impounding their vehicles if licensed drivers claims those vehicles is a policy issue with such far-reaching implications that Beck ought not to have the authority to call the shots in the matter.
“What Beck is proposing is a matter of intense public interest; it would significantly affect the actions of police officers; and debate over it has polarized the city partly along racial lines,” writes Newton.
And spare a moment to take our poll about whether or not you think it makes sense to let unlicensed drivers off with a citation. Tell us in the Comments section whether you think LAPD Chief Beck should be the deciding authority in the matter.