The City Council approved a motion Friday calling on various city departments to take the necessary steps for Los Angeles to officially become a sanctuary city for immigrants.
The motion, which was previously OK’d by the council’s Civil Rights, Equity, Immigration, Aging and Disability Committee and the Public Safety Committee, instructs the city attorney to prepare a draft ordinance within 60 days to prohibit “any city resources, property or personnel from being utilized for any federal immigration enforcement.”
It would also prohibit city cooperation with federal immigration authorities in “execution of their duties” as it pertains to immigration enforcement.
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who introduced the motion with council members Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto-Martínez, thanked “all the advocates, lawyers and organizations” who work to educate and protect the rights of immigrants.
“For many people in Los Angeles who have been advocating for the city to become an official sanctuary city for many years, this is a long overdue process,” Raman said.
According to Raman, L.A. is home to millions of immigrants, and many school children have “at least one immigrant parent.”
“A significant number of residents in Los Angeles live in fear of being apprehended, detained and deported by federal immigration authorities,” Raman said.
The city of Los Angeles took its first steps to formally protect its immigrant community in the “wake of a presidential administration that actively sought to instill fear in those who came to this country to seek a better life.”
Then-Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive in 2019 that offered protections to the immigrant community, but it lacked the permanence of a city law, according to Raman.
The council in a 12-0 vote, with council members Bob Blumenfield and John Lee absent, supported the motion Friday to create an official ordinance and codify existing protections set forth in the executive directive.
Soto-Martínez added that in recent years there has been a lot of “hateful rhetoric” and harmful legislation coming out of Washington, Florida and Texas meant to build distrust between the immigrant community and government.
“What this (motion) means is a clear message to the community that we’re not like them, that the city should be looked as an entity that you can trust, that you can come to and that you can look to for help,” Soto-Martínez said.
The motion also instructs the city’s chief legislative analyst, Civil and Human Rights and Equity Department and the city administrative officer to report back with reports to ensure the city is on the right track to officially become a sanctuary city and monitor that progress.
While San Diego is not a sanctuary city, its supported the state’s sanctuary city law.
City News Service contributed to this article.