LONG BEACH – Long Beach elected officials agreed to restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities in 2018 when they passed the Long Beach Values Act to expands a restriction on cooperating with or notifying federal immigration authorities unless legally obligated to do so.
At the time, then Long Beach Chief Robert Luna said the department’s current policy to turn information over only when there is a criminal warrant presented by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers — and that hasn’t happened for at least three years.
In 2021 it was reported by multiple Long Beach, CA, based news sites that Long Beach Police Department continued sharing data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement without the public knowing.
An August 2020 report by the police, obtained by Long Beach resident and researcher Greg Buhl through a records request, showed the Long Beach Police Department was sending license plate reader data directly to ICE.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused LBPD of violating several state laws and risking the civil rights of residents by continuing to share data collected by automatic license plate readers with dozens of out-of-state law enforcement agencies.
The cameras can capture 1,800 license plate numbers per minute and are mounted on vehicles or traffic signal poles.
The ACLU attorney asked the police department to “immediately impose a ban on the department” from sharing the ALPR data.
Tajsar outlined the threat ALPR surveillance practices by the LBPD has upon the civil liberties and rights of Long Beach residents and cautioned that “no jurisdiction should acquire or deploy license plate readers, given the technology’s invasiveness and the breadth of revealing information such technology can collect about individuals.”
The ACLU stepped in after forthe.org first reported last year that the LBPD was sharing ALPR data— including license plate numbers and location information—with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite a promise from city officials that police would not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Documents obtained by local police watchdog CheckLBPD.org revealed the expansive nature of the data sharing, which encompassed hundreds of law enforcement agencies scattered across the country.
It wasn’t until three years after the Long Beach vote, to strengthen support of immigrants under then President Donald Trump, that LBPD begrudgingly complied.
Why would Luna defiantly disregard the City’s “sanctuary” status, in order to have ICE jam up residents who look like him? That’s pretty foul if you ask us.