Last Updated: December 15, 2011
Special Order 40 is a policy established in Los Angeles in 1979. Special Order 40 prohibits police officers from “initiat(ing) police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person.” This prevents officers from inquiring about the immigration status of an individual and from contacting federal immigration officials about an individual’s immigration status. In May, 2006, Judicial Watch filed a taxpayer lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles asking the court to prohibit the LAPD from expending taxpayer funds to enforce and maintain Special Order 40, which violates both federal immigration laws and California law while placing American citizens at risk. After Judicial Watch filed the taxpayer lawsuit, ACLU lawyers intervened for illegal aliens to help defend the Special Order 40 sanctuary policy.In 1996, Congress enacted legislation that states that a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual. California law mandates that police officers enforce immigration laws and work with federal immigration officials.Special Order 40 is an illegal policy that places the citizens of Los Angeles (and the nation) at risk. For instance, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit references a New York Times article published late in 2004 about an illegal immigrant who went on a rampage in Hollywood, mugging three people, burglarizing two apartments and attempting to rape a woman in front of her five-year old daughter. The illegal alien had been deported four years prior for robbery, drugs and burglary but had made his way back into the United States. “Although he had been stopped twice for traffic violations,” the Times reported, “the police were prohibited from reporting him to immigration authorities.” And in Los Angeles in May of this year, an illegal alien, who was a known gang member, killed the high school football star son of a U.S. Army sergeant, just one day after the shooter was released from custody after serving time for assault with a deadly weapon. (The alleged murderer had been in the custody of Culver City, a neighboring Los Angeles jurisdiction that has illegal alien sanctuary policies similar to LA’s Special Order 40.)Judicial Watch’s petition for review following the appellate court’s upholding of the lower court’s ruling was denied on September 9, 2009. The case has been in continuing litigation regarding court fees requested by the ACLU as interveners in the case. Their original request was denied in January 2010, and they appealed the case in December.
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