Learn All About Immigration Law in Los Angeles From Our Attorneys and Lawyers

Over four and a half million people make up the immigrant population in Los Angeles. In fact, the Pew Research Center discovered that Los Angeles metro areas had the second largest undocumented immigrant population in the U.S. in 2014.

Do you plan on immigrating to Los Angeles? Here is what you need to know from the City of Los Angeles about the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Immigration Law in Los Angeles FAQ

Is Los Angeles a “Sanctuary City”?
While the term “Sanctuary City” is not defined under federal, state, or local law, some jurisdictions in Los Angeles declare themselves as a “sanctuary jurisdiction” because they do not cooperate with authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Would the LAPD arrest someone to enforce federal civil immigration violations?
No, federal civil and administrative law determines whether a person is permitted to be in, work in, or travel in the United States.

Can a LAPD officer stop a person to determine their immigration status?
No, federal law restricts LAPD from stopping an individual based on their perceived immigration status.

Are LAPD officers allowed to arrest someone who has an outstanding federal criminal warrant for immigration violations?
Yes. If a LAPD officer learns that a suspect has an outstanding warrant for a federal criminal immigration offense such as 8 U.S.C. § 1325 (Improper Entry) or 8 U.S.C. § 1326 (Illegal Re-entry), the officer may detain and arrest the individual.

What is “Special Order 40”?
A LAPD policy that restricts an officer from initiating a police action with the objective of discovering a person’s immigration status.

Does the LAPD notify ICE when they arrest someone who may be in violation of civil immigration laws?

Does the LAPD notify ICE when they arrest someone who has an immigration-related criminal arrest warrant?
Yes. They will notify ICE to determine whether the agency will take custody of the suspect for criminal prosecution in federal court.

What is Executive Directive No. 20?
A mayoral order recently issued setting forth the Mayor’s commitment to immigrants in Los Angeles.

Should I speak to an immigration attorney before signing any paperwork?
Yes. Do not sign anything if you do not fully understand what it means. Before signing anything given to you by ICE, always ask to speak to an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. If questioned by an officer, immediately request to speak with an immigration attorney.

Do I have a right to an immigration lawyer and a hearing?
Yes. If ICE or other law enforcement officers question you, if you are arrested for a crime, or if you are detained by ICE, you have a right to speak with a Los Angeles immigration attorney, to have a court hearing, and for a judge to review your case. If a judge is reviewing your case, you can stay in the U.S. until they make a final decision.


Helpful Links for Immigration in Los Angeles