LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles City Council Friday unanimously passed a resolution giving L.A. sanctuary status for immigrants.
In a 12-0 vote, the council reaffirmed its existing laws limiting cooperation with federal authorities regarding immigration enforcement policies. The resolution was more of a symbolic declaration.
The sanctuary issue has received renewed focus in the Trump administration era. The resolution, which was written by Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Herb Wesson, had been approved by the Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights and Equity Committee back in December of 2017, but did not go to the full council until now.
“The city of Los Angeles reaffirms its position that enforcement of federal immigration law is a function solely delegated to the U.S Congress by the U.S. Constitution, and any local resources used to enforce federal immigration law by local police authorities would be unconstitutional,” the resolution states.
L.A. police have followed Special Order 40 since the late 1970s, which states officers will not detain a person for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status. L.A. jails also do not honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers unless they are issued by a judge or judicial officer.
In the past, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has resisted embracing the term “sanctuary city” because he says it is often used by those looking to harm cities that have friendly immigration policies.
“It is not a term that has meaning,” Garcetti said in a radio interview back in September 2017.
L.A. joins other sanctuary cities in the region including San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Malibu.
In October 2017, then Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 54, the sanctuary state legislation that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally. Under it, police are barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in immigration enforcement activities. Jail officials are only allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
At least a dozen cities across the Southland, however, have come out in opposition to sanctuary state laws since early 2018, including Santa Clarita, Newport Beach and Aliso Viejo. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, whose leadership opposes the sanctuary laws, last year began providing public information on when inmates are released from custody. A “Who’s in Jail” online database includes the date and time of inmates’ release. OCSD made it clear the goal is to assist ICE agents.
Cities publicly opposed to sanctuary status have either opted out of the laws or are joining the federal government in suing California.