Los Angeles is known as a haven for illegal immigrants, and a new executive order from Mayor Eric Garcetti will cement that status while also snubbing President Donald Trump's order to dismantle "sanctuary city" policies.
"Right now, the country is conflicted," Fox News' William La Jeunesse reported Wednesday. "You have cities and states across the U.S. going in different directions, and many like L.A. are defiantly telling the president they could care less about his immigration priorities."
"L.A. already," he explained, "prohibits police from even asking a suspect's legal status. But last night, the city made it official. Despite the president's executive order asking cities to help identify illegal immigrants, L.A. is officially their sanctuary from federal enforcement."
The mayor declared to the media:
In Los Angeles, we don't separate children from their families because it's inhumane. In Los Angeles, we don't demonize our hard-working neighbors just because they speak a different language or come from a different country. That's un-American.
Garcetti's Executive Order 20 describes law enforcement policy in relation to federal immigration law since Special Order 40 in 1978 when police were prohibited from asking a person's immigration status during a police investigation. Garcetti's order expands that prohibition to the fire department, the airport, the water port, and to all other employees of the city. It also forbids any employee from giving any assistance to federal officers who might be enforcing the immigration law.
"Tuesday, [LAPD] Chief [Charlie] Beck underscored why the city does that," Le Jeunesse said. "He said that Latinos are reporting fewer crimes out of fear that dealing with cops would increase their risk of being deported."
Beck cited a steep decline in sex assault and domestic violence reports as proof that illegal immigrants were calling the police less frequently due to fear of Trump's advocacy of deportation for those present in the country illegally.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice, on the other hand, said that this suggestion was “entirely speculative and irresponsible.” The rationale that having local law authorities assist in enforcing federal immigration law gets in the way of enforcing local law is one that many "sanctuary city" advocates use.
Citing the approximately 300 jurisdictions that don't cooperate with federal law already, Shannon Bream asked Le Jeunesse, "Are there any cities and states going in the other direction?"
"There are," he answered. "Remember President Trump said he would withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. So far, however, the administration has refused to tell us if, when, or how they would do that, but several states are attempting to leverage the power of the purse to force more liberal cities to cooperate with ICE."
"Lawmakers in Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Texas have introduced bills to penalize sanctuary cities," he continued. "But yesterday Mississippi became the first state to actually to do so, and the governor said that he is going to sign that bill."
"By contrast," Le Jeunesse noted, "California lawmakers are passing legislation that would prohibit cops and jails from even talking to ICE. Critics say, of course, that's a clear violation of federal law, and a swipe at the president."
"So you can see the country is going in very different directions," he concluded.
[graphiq id="7gYllGyjJ1H" title="U.S. Immigration Statistics" width="600" height="540" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/7gYllGyjJ1H" ]
Garcetti had called Trump's order on sanctuary cities "unconstitutional and immoral" in January, and vowed that he would protect illegal immigrants from deportation as much as he could. Faith leaders in California and elsewhere have begun organizing "underground railroad" safe houses to hide illegal immigrants from immigration offices also.
A similar order was implemented in New York City by Mayor de Blasio who forbid city employees from allowing federal authorities to enter school campuses to enforce immigration law unless they had a warrant to do so.
Trump, meanwhile, is shifting around immigration judges in an attempt to speed up deportations, while border officials say Trump's tough talk on immigration has already led to an "unprecedented" drop in illegal border crossings.