This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 22, 2017:
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (shown) has thrown down the gauntlet, defying President Donald Trump's executive order issued in January, entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” That executive order provides a three-step procedure to ensure that illegals are apprehended and deported: 1) the “name and shame” list of illegals committing crimes in so-called “sanctuary cities”; 2) threat of legal action against officials endorsing “sanctuary city” policies; and 3) threat of withholding federal funds if they persist in resisting federal immigration enforcement officials from performing their duties.
Even the title of Garcetti's own executive directive is a poke in Trump's eye: “Standing with Immigrants: A City of Safety, Refuge, and Opportunity for All,” even if those “All” are among Los Angeles' estimated 2.6 million illegals.
Garcetti opens with a summary of West Coast liberalism:
In the centuries since [the city's founding], we have grown into the most diverse city on the face of the earth — a city that champions inclusiveness and tolerance, and welcomes everyone who seeks to realize their dreams and build their families here, regardless of national origin or immigration status. [Emphasis added.]
All are welcome to LA — especially those who are in the country illegally — and to help themselves to all manner of taxpayer-provided free services, said the mayor:
My vision is to ensure that all Angelinos, regardless of immigration status, are connected to community resources, have access to government services. [Emphasis added.]
Garcetti reminded his citizenry that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been prohibited since 1979 “from initiating any action to determine a person's immigration status and from arresting anyone due to the person's civil immigration status.” Since 2014, according to the mayor, “The Police Department has not honored any ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] request to hold an individual otherwise eligible for release from custody absent a judicial determination of probable cause for that detainer or a valid warrant from a judicial officer.”
Enforcement of federal immigration laws is the responsibility of federal officials, says the mayor, and his law-enforcement people are not allowed to assist them in performing their duties in any way:
Because civil immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility … the [Los Angeles] Police Department has never participated [in] and will not participate in the voluntary programs authorized by … the [federal] Immigration and Nationality Act … or any other program….
The City will not assist or cooperate with any effort of federal immigration agents to use public facilities or resources [of the city] for the purposes of enforcing federal civil immigration law.
He ordered the chief of police to affirm that this policy is still in place:
The Chief of Police shall reaffirm and maintain the Police Department's existing policies and procedures with respect to immigration enforcement … and the policy against partnering with ICE to perform civil immigration enforcement.
Garcetti then ordered the fire department, the airport police and the port police to adopt the same hands-off policies:
The Fire Chief, the Chief of Airport Police, and the Chief of Port Police shall issue policies and procedures consistent with the Police Department's existing policies … including the policy against partnering with ICE to perform civil immigration enforcement.
This now applies to city employees: “No … City employee shall assist or cooperate with, or allow any City monies or resources to be used to assist or cooperate with, any federal agency or agency in any action where the primary purpose is federal civil immigration enforcement … [nor shall any city employee] grant any federal immigration agent access to any city facility not open to the general public unless such access is legally required.”
The mayor's order now officially grants illegal immigrants full “equal access to [the city's] facilities, services, and programs without regard to any person's citizenship or immigration status to the maximum extent that the law permits, [and] foster[s] a welcoming atmosphere for all regardless of immigration status.”
There is more to his order, including keeping any information that a city employee might have, or might have access to, regarding an immigrant's status, private and away from ICE agents. But the message being delivered is clear: All are welcome to Los Angeles' welfare benefits, including illegals, where they may be safely protected from intrusion by federal officials attempting to enforce federal laws.
It's also the most blatant pushback against President Trump's policies as stated by his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who said, “It is not acceptable for jurisdictions [such as Los Angeles, and others] to refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement.”
Wait until Sessions and Trump get wind of efforts by California itself to become the nation's first “sanctuary state”! senate Bill 54, entitled the “California Values Act,” is already being fast-tracked in Sacramento, and says:
In no event shall state or local law enforcement agencies or school police or security departments transfer an individual to federal immigration authorities for purposes of immigration enforcement, or detain an individual at the request of federal immigration authorities for purposes of immigration enforcement absent a judicial warrant.
The Wall Street Journal added that SB 54 would
prohibit police from using personnel or resources in civil immigration detentions or arrests. It would block federal immigration officials from entering local jails to conduct interviews with detainees or gain access to police databases for immigration enforcement purposes.
In addition, the bill would curtail what police could tell federal immigration authorities about people in custody, and limit enforcement in places such as schools and courts.
The contrast with the decision by Mississippi to cooperate with ICE is startling. Its Senate Bill 2710, just passed by the state senate and headed for the desk of Governor Phil Bryant, who is expected shortly to sign it into law, prohibits local governments and universities from enacting ordinances or policies that would limit enforcement of or cooperation with federal and state laws and enforcement. In anticipation of his signing the bill into law, Governor Bryant said — in stark contrast to California — that “taxpayers expect their state and its political subdivisions to abide by federal immigration laws.”
The order by LA's Mayor Garcetti and California's SB 54 have set in motion the confrontation between Trump's policies and California's policies of inclusion, regardless of immigration status. There will be test cases resulting in lawsuits, which will take years to sort out. But one thing is certain: That coming confrontation is going to be nasty, with repercussions affecting generations to come.