Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday called an announcement by President Donald Trump that he is considering releasing immigrant detainees into sanctuary cities “hateful” and a “waste of time.”
Trump said on Twitter Friday that his administration is giving “strong considerations” to the idea. His comments followed a Washington Post report that the administration had been looking at releasing detainees into districts of political adversaries, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.
“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!” Trump wrote.
According to The Post, immigration officials rejected the idea in November and February, and Trump’s tweet contradicted an official White House statement sent on Thursday that the idea was no longer under consideration.
Garcetti, a Democrat who considered running for president in 2020 to oppose the Republican Trump before abandoning the idea in January, took to Twitter himself to respond to Trump’s plan, and said, “The Trump Administration’s latest hateful idea is nothing more than a needless distraction and a waste of time. We need real solutions that uphold our values — not disgraceful policies that demonize immigrants and will never become reality.”
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a resolution in February declaring Los Angeles a “city of sanctuary” for immigrants, although it is non-binding and did not change any city laws.
While there is no legal definition of a sanctuary city, it generally applies to municipalities that limit cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement. Embracing the term has become a way for cities to defy Trump, who has tried to cut off some federal funding to sanctuary cities.
The Los Angeles Police Department has had a longstanding policy of not initiating contact with individuals based solely on their immigration status and does not give immigration agents access to its jails or inmates unless they have a federal warrant. Because of those policies, Los Angeles has often been referred to as a sanctuary city, although until February it never officially embraced the term as other cities have, such as San Francisco and Santa Ana.
The Los Angeles resolution reaffirmed the city’s position that enforcement of federal immigration law is a function solely delegated to Congress by the U.S. Constitution, and any local resources used to enforce federal immigration law would be unconstitutional. It also says that Los Angeles is a “city of sanctuary, protecting the human rights of all our residents.”
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