Los Angeles is considering an ordinance to officially enshrine its previously only symbolic moniker as a “sanctuary city” into its municipal code, after a proposal was introduced by Los Angeles City Council members Eunisses Hernandez, Nithya Raman, and Hugo Soto-Martinez on March 7.
“Los Angeles is a city of immigrants,” Hernandez said in a statement. “As the daughter of two Mexican immigrants myself, I know how important and overdue these protections are to our community members.”
The proposal, if passed, would direct the city to forbid any investigations or enforcement actions related to someone’s immigration status and disallow any attempt to ask for or compile such information.
According to the proposal, it will formalize the city’s symbolic declaration from 2019.
It would also limit immigration officials’ access to nonpublic areas—including jails—unless a valid search or arrest warrant is produced.
Additionally, the proposal would block the provision of city database access or any personal information or data about individuals to federal immigration agents.
“Immigrants make up the very fabric of this city,” Raman said in a statement to City News Service. “Prohibiting the use of city resources for federal immigration enforcement shouldn’t depend only on executive actions that could be overturned by a future mayor or police chief. These are fundamental protections that should be enshrined in our laws going forward.”
But not everyone is on board with the proposal, as talks of sanctuary cities have proved to be a hot-button issue nationwide over the past several years.
Los Angeles County Republican Party Chairman Timothy O’Reilly told The Epoch Times that the sanctuary city laws fail to consider that some undocumented immigrants could potentially be criminals, and that enshrining a new ordinance preventing authorities from investigating someone’s documentation is “destructive” to a city already gripped by high crime.
He added that undocumented immigrants who have lived in Los Angeles for decades and are in “good standing” aren’t the issue.
“Why would we not want to partner with federal officials, in terms of removing criminals?” O’Reilly said. “Maybe they’re a person that has been involved in child sex trafficking or the drug trade, or they’re members of the cartel and we’re going to turn our back on sharing that information just in the name of an ideology.”
City News Service contributed to this report.