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Lompoc police respond to immigration enforcement concerns

More local law enforcement agencies are speaking out over resident concerns regarding immigration enforcement.

Tiffany Ortiz’ family has been in limbo since the election.

“Keeping our faith in God and God’s plan is perfect so whatever he’s going to do with Trump in office, or whatever he’s going to allow we’re ready for it,” Lompoc resident Tiffany Ortiz said.

The Lompoc Police Department is reminding people, like those in Ortiz’ family, that immigration is enforced at the federal level and that they don’t have to fear their local police department.

“I am relieved to hear about that,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz had a hunch that immigration worked this way.

“I think it’s really cool that the community is coming together and showing them because they are a big part of making this community work so I’m really happy for that especially members of my family too,” Ortiz said.

The Lompoc Police Department is trying to clear up any confusion and put the community at ease.

“We just want everyone to relax, we’re not going to come looking for you,” Lompoc Police Sgt. Kevin Martin said.

People have been reaching out to Lompoc community leaders – concerned about family members being deported.

“They’re concerned that the police department is going to come around and whenever they make a phone call for help they’re going to be questioned as to their legal status in the United States and it’s illegal for us to do that,” Martin said.

“We’re trusting on something changing in the law because they’ve been here for many, many years and they’ve contributed to this country,” Ortiz said.

The Lompoc Police Department didn’t have the exact number of undocumented immigrants in the city but says it’s safe to say that it’s in the thousands.

The Lompoc Police Department says it has no plans to change its policy on immigration, and released the following statement:

Under California law, local law enforcement agencies have no authority to proactively enforce immigration laws. This type of enforcement action is handled at the federal level. The Lompoc Police Department does not have the authority, intention or the resources to enforce immigration laws.

Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh has received concerns regarding immigration enforcement, and wants the community to know he has no intention of changing the department’s current practices as it pertains to immigration. Lompoc police understand they serve all of our community, regardless of immigration status.

Lompoc police will continue to investigate crimes regardless of immigration status of those involved, and want everyone in the community to know the Lompoc police department is here to serve them.

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