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Los Angeles City Council Prepares Defenses Against Trump’s Policies

Thursday, February 9, 2017 15:48
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  Los Angeles City Hall. (Kansas Sebastian / CC 2.0)

Los Angeles City Council members have been vocal about their opposition to many of the Trump administration’s new policies, and a series of moves made by the council this week reinforce the city’s progressive opposition.

First, on Tuesday, an L.A. city council committee overheard testimony from people who had been detained at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as a result of President Trump’s travel ban. Los Angeles Daily News reports:

Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants’ rights for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, told the committee overseeing LAX that, in one instance, a green card holder who had her 10-month-old baby in a cold room “didn’t have access to baby food,” and the baby later became “very ill” with a fever.

Another woman detained said she only had access to a vending machine that was a quarter full and which required her to have money to access it, Pasquarella told the Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee at Los Angeles City Hall.

Many council members were shocked after hearing the testimonies, the Daily News notes. Councilman Bob Blumenfield was reportedly “shocked and appalled” by the “horrendous conditions people were put through by our government.”

However, one group was notably absent from Tuesday’s hearing: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP.)

“We did invite them and they directed us to their website,” Blumenfield stated, according to LAist.

Tuesday’s hearing culminated in a number of recommendations that will proceed to the full city council, LAist reports:

The City Council committee ultimately decided to recommend that the airport look into ways to engage the Red Cross in the future. Their motion, which still needs to be adopted by the full council, also recommends that the airport look into a number of avenues of preparation for similar situations that might arise, including ways to provide food and water to detainees in CBP custody, as well as access to counsel. The motion also recommended the establishment of protocol that would give airport officials the ability to inspect CBP holding areas.

“I’m appalled by the way you were treated and I’m sorry for that on behalf of the government, even though we don’t represent the federal government,” Blumenfield told one traveler who gave testimony. “It’s awful and not the way it should be.”

The liberal city continued to handle issues caused by the new Trump administration Wednesday, when the full city council unanimously voted on a measure to protect citizens from being forced to provide their religious affiliation. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The City Council voted unanimously to ask city attorneys to write a new law prohibiting the city’s nearly 47,000 employees from registering individuals based on their religion or spiritual faith or participating in other discriminatory behavior.

Trump’s immigration policies and his statements on creating watchlists or registries have sparked criticisms and concerns in some corners.

This new motion also “instructs the Los Angeles Police Department and city attorney to report on their efforts to respond to hate crimes and ensure the safety of Muslim Americans, immigrants and others in minority communities.”

Los Angeles has been a hub of resistance against the Trump administration since he took office in late January. Hundreds of thousands of Angelenos took to the streets to rally against the new administration, and the city’s government has since created new laws to protect minorities and immigrants in the city.

Los Angeles, along with San Francisco and Sacramento, are all committed to remaining “sanctuary cities” and have threatened to go to court if that status is challenged by the Trump administration. 

The Los Angeles City Council also “recently voted to create an immigrant advocate’s office” to “hire a City Hall legal adviser with immigration expertise who also could help immigrants avoid the kind of mass deportation promised by Trump.”

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who proposed the motion to shield against religious discrimination, zeroed in on the city’s progressive ideals when explaining the need for such legislation.

“It’s important for the city to get ahead of this,” he said, “and say, ‘We’re not going to stand for this.’”

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