LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday unanimously approved a temporary ban on the construction of privately-run migrant detention facilities within L.A. city limits.
The temporary ordinance, proposed by Council President Nury Martinez last week, will put a 45-day ban on building any privately run immigration facilities in L.A.
The ban will now need to be drafted by city attorneys and brought back for final council approval. The council has the option of extending the ordinance for a full year while it works to come up with a more permanent ban.
The motion specifically notes a private children’s immigrant detention center which was recently proposed for the 9100 block of Woodman Avenue in the San Fernando Valley community of Arleta, which lies within Martinez’s district. The proposed facility sparked a protest earlier this month.
The ordinance prohibits “the issuance of any demolition, building, grading, and any other applicable permits to prevent the construction or operation of private detention centers.”
California is in a battle with the federal government over whether it has the authority to block private prisons and immigrant detention facilities.
In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill banning contracts for for-profit prisons which took effect on Jan. 1. Supporters hoped the law would force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to look elsewhere after current contracts expire.
However, in December, the Trump administration awarded billions of dollars in contracts for private companies to operate immigration detention centers in California, just prior to the law taking effect.
ICE awarded long-term contracts worth a combined $6.8 billion for immigrant detention facilities in San Diego, Calexico, Adelanto and Bakersfield. The sites will house about 4,000 detainees, with capacity to expand in the future.
ICE said the contracts were not subject to the new state law, deflecting criticism that the timing was meant to circumvent it.
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