LA Increases Immigrant Protection as Deportation Fears Mount

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive Tuesday that bars ports and airport officials from being deputized as federal immigrant agents, amid dips in Latinos reporting crimes against them and a drop in attendance at parks, community centers and other public places.

Garcetti signed the executive directive, “Standing with Immigrants: A City of Safety, Refuge, and Opportunity for All,” which builds on existing LAPD policies on immigration enforcement and applies them to law enforcement at the city’s ports, airports and fire department. It bars all city employees from using the city’s resources or facilities to cooperate with the President Donald Trump administration’s immigration crackdown.

“It also requires that every city facility and service be made available to all Angelenos without regard to citizenship or immigration status, and orders protections on the confidentiality of information submitted by residents who enroll in city programs and services, unless required by law,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.

Before he signed the directive at the afternoon event at the Lincoln Heights Youth Center Complex in East LA, Garcetti said the city has seen fewer visitors at the city’s parks, art centers, libraries and senior centers. He said people are keeping their kids at home and avoiding contact with authorities and law enforcement because of fears over deportation.

“That is unacceptable in our Los Angeles. I don’t ever want good people to hold back from kicking balls in parks,” Garcetti said. “I don’t want anybody to be scared.”

Speaking at the event, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that so far this year, domestic violence reports are down 10 percent in the Latino community. Sexual assault reports dipped 25 percent, he said.

Beck said it was too early to conclude if the decline can be attributed solely to the actions of the Trump administration.

“It is an outlier, in that no other demographic has been affected by this outside of our Hispanic demographic. At this point, there’s no direct nexus to it, but there is a strong correlation,” Beck said. “This is not a minor issue. It’s the safety of this city.”

On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order to withdraw federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities – including Los Angeles – and gave federal immigration officers the power to detain immigrants who have committed a crime or are in the United States illegally under existing immigration laws. Trump has vowed to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Garcetti’s signing of the directive is part of several events to mark Cities’ Day of Immigration Action. Garcetti started the day at a “Know Your Rights” phone bank at Univision Studios, where legal experts were on hand to provide advice to callers.

Later in the morning, Garcetti led a conference call with 50 American mayors to launch the Cities’ Day of Immigration Action, an initiative that calls on faith leaders, attorneys and community groups to provide resources to immigrant communities.

Later this evening, Garcetti will speak at a “Know Your Rights” workshop hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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