Tempers Flare When Huntington Park Appoints Undocumented Immigrants To City Commissions

HUNTINGTON PARK (CBSLA.com) — Huntington Park is making history and not everyone is happy about it.

Councilman Jhonny Pineda announced at Monday night’s city council meeting the appointment of two undocumented immigrants as commissioners, CBS2/KCAL9’s Kara Finnstrom reports.

“You are out of order!” one woman in the crowd yelled at the councilmembers during the meeting.

Some critics say Pineda, who joined the council in March, specifically picked Medina and Zatarain because they worked on his campaign. Others say they don’t believe undocumented immigrants should serve the government this way.

“We’re sending the wrong message: you can be illegal and you can come and work for the city,” a woman told Finnstrom.

Pineda stresses that the two appointees would not be paid – federal law prohibits that – and that they will have no power to determine city policy.

Frank Medina will join the health and education commission and Julian Zatarain will be working with the parks and recreation commission. Both are young men who Pineda says have a long history of volunteering for the city and the undocumented community.

The 32-year-old councilman says he picked these two men, first and foremost, for their accomplishments and because he promised voters on the campaign trail he’d create opportunities for the city’s sizable undocumented immigrant demographic.

“We need to make sure that we bring everyone together to the table here in Huntington Park so that we can make sure we’re sharing the same vision,” said Pineda.

City Mayor Karina Macias threw her support behind the appointments.

The appointments won’t be official until processed by the council and Medina and Zatarain pass a Live Scan background check.

Pineda says the move is historic, and would make Huntington Park the first city to have undocumented immigrants on city commissions.

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