LA Divided Over Car Impound Debate

Current law allows police to impound a car for 30 days if the driver doesn't have a license

Luis Herrera is one of thousands of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles whose car was impounded because he did not have a driver's license.

"The laws need to change. Not all immigrants are bad people. There are immigrants here with the intention of hard work," Herrera said.

But Pete Weber with the LA Police Protective League doesn't see it that way. He believes an unlicensed driver's car should remain impounded automatically for 30 days, as the current law states.

However, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to stop the impound law, which he sees as unfair.

"Not putting an undo burden on people who can't afford the $500 a day impound charge," the mayor said.

Members of the police union believe the mayor is putting politics over public safety and that the innocent will be hurt by unlicensed drivers.

"What he basically wants to do is to tell the LAPD to ignore the law," Weber said.

Oakland and San Francisco already have changed similar laws involving 30-day automatic impounds. The changes to LA's impound policy are expected to happen at the beginning of 2012.

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