Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada spoke with Behind the Badge OC to answer questions some Anaheim residents might have about immigration issues and local policing. Our chat with him follows Quezada’s recent letter to the community.
Behind the Badge: Does the police department ask people it contacts about their immigration status?
Quezada: No. Unless immigration status is an integral component of a particular investigation (e.g., human trafficking involving forced labor of foreign nationals), an individual’s immigration status is not relevant and our officers and employees do not inquire about it.
BTB: Are you going to deport me if I have no criminal record? Or if I’m pulled over for a speeding ticket?
Quezada: As clearly stated in our Immigration Policy, which is available in both English and Spanish on the Police Department’s website, the Anaheim Police Department is not charged with and does not engage in the enforcement of immigration laws. That is the responsibility and purview of the federal government.
Our officers and employees also do not ask for immigration status during their contacts in the field and when conducting traffic enforcement. APD also does not honor ICE Detainers — which can give federal immigration officers the ability to detain non-citizens who come in contact with local law enforcement — received for those arrested and in our custody.
Once out of our custody, however, and transported to the custody of another agency — like the Orange County Jail — the deportation process could be initiated by another agency as APD would no longer have any authority.
BtB: In the everyday policing of the city of Anaheim, how does APD draw the line between an immigration issue and regular law enforcement?
Quezada: Again, the Anaheim Police Department is not charged with and does not engage in the enforcement of immigration laws. That is the responsibility and purview of the federal government.
As chief, I can tell you that the current immigration policies being enacted at the federal level are creating significant anxiety in our immigrant communities.
When there is suspicion and fear in any neighborhood of people in positions of authority, it directly affects the level of cooperation and partnership my department experiences as they interact with those they serve, respond to calls for service and investigate crimes.
BtB: What is the likelihood Anaheim could become a so-called sanctuary city?
Quezada: It is difficult for me as the chief of police to forecast the likelihood of a policy position such as this. That designation would result from City Council action.
BtB: I think my kids — who weren’t born in the U.S. — might be involved in some gang activity. Does this put them at greater risk for possible deportation?
Quezada: It certainly could. Although the Anaheim Police Department does not honor ICE Detainers and requires a warrant or judicial order of probable cause to hold someone beyond the point he or she would normally have been released, the Trust Act lists specific crimes for which an individual could be held on an ICE Detainer.
Any prior conviction for one of those crimes could greatly increase the likelihood for deportation once any new local charges have been adjudicated. Specifically, Section 7282.5(a) of the California Government Code includes gang-related crimes as qualifying offenses under the Trust Act.