The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to officially make Los Angeles a "sanctuary" city for immigrants, where the use of its resources for federal immigration enforcement will be prohibited.
Councilmembers unanimously approved a motion asking city attorneys to write the rule, prohibiting the use of Los Angeles funds or those of its staff to enforce U.S. immigration laws. UU, as reported by the news agency Efe.
The motion, previously approved by the Committee on Civil Rights, Equality, Immigration, Aging and Disability and the Committee on Public Safety, directs the city attorney to prepare a draft ordinance within 60 days to prohibit "the use of city resources, property or personnel to enforce federal immigration laws." as reported by ABC News.
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The move officially makes Los Angeles a "sanctuary" for immigrants. It will also ban immigration authorities from accessing the city's databases.
During the meeting, council members recognized the city's immigrant history and expressed a desire to protect the rights and well-being of all residents, regardless of immigration status, according to ABC News.
In 2017, the government of then-Mayor Eric Garcetti had issued an executive order limiting collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but there is no approved rule that permanently establishes those standards.
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Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who introduced the motion alongside Councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto-Martinez, said in a Twitter message that prohibiting the use of Los Angeles' resources for federal immigration enforcement should not only depend on the executive actions of the incumbent mayor. "This is a long-overdue process."
"These are fundamental protections that will be enshrined in our laws going forward," he said. "What this (motion) means is a clear message to the community that we are not like them, that the city should be seen as an entity that can be trusted, that can be turned to and that can be asked for help," Soto-Martinez added.
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Raman, who was born in India, said she came to the U.S. at the age of six with her mother and knows from her own experience that immigrants are an important part of the fabric of Los Angeles.
"A significant number of Los Angeles residents live in fear of being apprehended, detained and deported by federal immigration authorities."
California is already a sanctuary state. The signed 2017 law limits the use of state and local resources to assist ICE.