Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2017 – 6:38 PM
When it comes to President Donald Trump’s threats and executive order to cut federal funding off to so-called “sanctuary cities,” a City Council committee Thursday requested a proactive plan on how to “hit back” with legal action should the order be executed on Los Angeles.
“We are on the defensive so much of the time,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez at a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Immigrant Affairs before requesting the city attorney’s office report back “on how you are going to protect our city and our interests in case the federal government comes after us.”
Councilman David Ryu agreed.
“We have to be prepared and that’s when we hit back, so I think we have to do some sort of preparation, some proactive preparation,” Ryu said.
The committee requested that the city attorney report back with a plan within two weeks after hearing a report from a representative with the office of the chief legislative analyst on if Los Angeles could be labeled a sanctuary city.
Analyst Felipe Chavez said “it is hard to say” if the term applies to Los Angeles, although a specific law cited in Trump’s order indicated it could.
Chavez said there is no legal term for “sanctuary city,” but it is closely associated with local law enforcement agencies that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities or limit their cooperation.
While Los Angeles has never officially declared itself a sanctuary city, it has a number of practices that likely make it the term relevant, including that it does not cooperate with Title 8, Section 1373 of federal law which prohibits state and local jurisdictions from restricting communication with federal immigration authorities concerning immigrants in the country illegally.
Trump’s order, which was issued in January, specifically mentions 1373 and threatens to cut funds to jurisdictions that do not comply with it.
Chavez said the law prohibits the enactments of local policies prohibiting the exchange of the information, but does not require local agencies to exchange the information, and that the California attorney general and various courts have ruled cooperating with the law is voluntary.
The city has other policies that put it at odds with the federal government’s immigration policies, Chavez said, including the policy of the police department to not comply with any federal immigration detainers unless it is accompanied with a warrant, and Special Order 40, which states officers will not initiate police action solely to determine an individual’s immigration status.
After hearing the report, Councilman Jose Huizar said the practices of the city appear to fall within the definition of a sanctuary city.