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Why 3 Councilmembers Want To Change LA's Immigrant Sanctuary Protections From Policy Into Law

A crowd of people on the steps of a public building holding signs that read "ICE Out of LA!"
City Councilmembers (at center, left to right) Hugo Soto-Martínez, Eunisses Hernandez and Nithya Raman outside L.A. City Hall with pro-immigrant advocates.
(Leslie Berestein Rojas
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Three Los Angeles City councilmembers want a "sanctuary city" ordinance for L.A. to do what a 2017 mayoral directive did not: enshrine policies that protect immigrants into law.

Why it matters

Los Angeles already has policies on the books intended to safeguard the rights of immigrants and protect people from deportation, including immigrants without legal status. So why go further?

City officials say these policies do not carry the same weight as laws. That means they could be easily done away with by a future administration. An ordinance would make it more difficult for future city leaders to remove or change these policies.

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The backstory

In 2017, then-Mayor Eric Garcetti issued Executive Directive No. 20, which among other things forbade city employees from cooperating with immigration officials or collecting or sharing information about someone's citizenship or immigration status.

It also prohibited city resources from being used to assist with immigration enforcement.

It's worth noteing that the LAPD has prohibited its officers from getting involved in immigration enforcement since Special Order 40 — referenced in Executive Order 20 — was issued in 1979.

Who's backing this change?

Councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez, Hugo Soto-Martínez and Nithya Raman have co-authored a motion that would direct city staff to draft an ordinance that would essentially codify Garcetti's directive.

What questions do you have about immigration and emerging communities in LA?

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