Judicial Watch, the litigation group most famous for its “blizzard” of lawsuits against the Clinton administration, is suing the Los Angeles Police Department over its policy of not asking witnesses or suspects about federal immigration status. The policy, which dates from 1979, is designed to let immigrants use city services – enrolling their children in school or reporting a crime to the police, for example – without fear of deportation. But rather than citing some kind of concern over immigrants with criminal backgrounds, Judicial Watch’s target is immigrants looking for work. Criticizing the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups that have intervened in the case, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton writes:
The ACLU contends that illegal immigrants ought to be able to congregate on street corners seeking illegal jobs without fear of police intervention. (Can you believe they actually intend to advance this argument in a court of law?!) Judicial Watch, of course, believes federal immigration laws must be enforced. We want the court to grant an injunction preventing the LAPD from spending any additional taxpayer funds in carrying out or enforcing Special Order 40.
While it is unclear how forcing the LAPD to enforce federal immigration laws will save money, using local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration status – a tactic seen in the wave of Hazleton-like anti-immigrant ordinances passed in a number small towns this summer – is part of the “new strategy” outlined by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) in lieu of Congress embracing a national crackdown.