LOS ANGELES -- An initiative that sought to give Los Angeles police officers authority to arrest gang members who are in the country illegally has failed to gain enough signatures and will not appear on the May 2009 ballot, the City Clerk's Office said Thursday.
Supporters of "Jamiel's Law" said they submitted more than 76,000 signatures to the city last week, but city clerk staff's counted 18,559 valid signatures. The valid signatures of 73,963 Los Angeles registered voters were needed to qualify the initiative for the May ballot.
The initiative would have given Los Angeles police officers authority to arrest illegal alien gang members on immigration charges alone.
Since 1979, the Los Angeles Police Department has operated under Special Order 40, which prevents officers from initiating contact with suspects for the sole purpose of inquiring about their immigration status. The policy was implemented so illegal aliens living in the city could report crimes and cooperate with police without fear of being deported.