LAX Aims To Be More Prepared For Protests If Trump Ban Reinstated

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – The Los Angeles City Council is working to find answers regarding what travelers at Los Angeles International Airport can expect moving forward if President Donald Trump’s travel ban is reinstated, while also considering its legal options regarding the immigration orders.

The Commerce and Trade Committee held a meeting Tuesday with the intent of determining whether LAX is prepared for another round of protests.

“Quite frankly, there was a lot of people that were inconvenienced, and we’re sorry about that, I wish that didn’t happen,” LAX Executive Director of Airport Security Pat Gannon told the committee.

Gannon was clearly worried about a repeat of the chaos that was caused by the executive order.

“I’m a little bit concerned with this past weekend, with counter demonstrators, and the possibility of those factions coming together,” Gannon said.

Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Dave Maggard told CBS2 that while he couldn’t necessarily assure travelers that they would make their flights in the event of more protests, he was certain his officers would be prepared.

“What I can assure them is that we’ll be ready, we’ll be ready to balance those interests that we have, we want to make sure that everybody’s interests are met,” Maggard said.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield, the committee chairman, noted that the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol was invited to the hearing Tuesday but chose not to attend.

A civil-rights attorney told the panel that CBP agents deprived some LAX detainees of food and water, solicited bribes and confiscated people’s cellphones.

Jennie Pasquarella, a staff attorney for the ACLU, said some detainees at LAX also reported being held for 24 hours or more in rooms without beds, and some were pressured into signing documents relinquishing their rights while being threatened with jail or permanent deportation.

A spokeswoman with the Customs and Border Patrol did not respond to a request to comment.

Pasquarella said the ACLU was contacted by 329 people who were detained at LAX after the travel ban was issued.

Pasquarella’s comments to the committee were made in response to a council motion calling for a report from airport officials into how Trump’s order impacted LAX, which the city operates, although it does not have jurisdiction over the area controlled by Customs and Border Patrol.

The entire City Council also met behind closed doors with City Attorney Mike Feuer Tuesday to discuss its legal options relating to Trump’s executive orders on immigration, but no actions were announced after the session.

The city of San Francisco filed a lawsuit Jan. 31 against Trump over his executive order aimed at denying federal funding to so-called “sanctuary” cities, but Los Angles has not yet filed any legal actions over the order.

The closed-door meeting Tuesday was also over Trump’s executive order on Jan. 27 that halted immigration to the United States from seven Muslim- majority countries, although the order has been temporarily suspended by a federal judge.

The lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera contends that Trump’s order on sanctuary cities is unconstitutional.

“The president’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American,” Herrera said. “That’s why we must stand up and oppose it.”

While not fitting the typical definition of a sanctuary city, where immigrants in the country illegally are shielded from federal authorities, the Los Angeles Police Department for decades has followed Special Order 40, which states officers will not detain a person for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status.

It’s unclear if Los Angeles could face a loss of federal funds, since Trump’s order declares that “sanctuary jurisdictions” would be determined by the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

However, Los Angeles’ status as a sanctuary city may be a moot point, as Trump threatened over the weekend in an interview with Fox News to cut funding to all of California if it moves forward with legislation pending in the state Senate that would provide statewide sanctuary for immigrants and prevent local law enforcement from helping federal authorities on immigration issues.

Trump’s executive order argues that sanctuary jurisdictions harm the country.

“These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic,” Trump’s executive order said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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