The bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors Wednesday adopted a resolution authored in part by the mayors of Los Angeles and Anaheim calling for federal immigration legislation that eliminates obstacles to citizenship for the estimated 10 million to 12 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
The resolution was co-written by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. Its approval came two days before the inauguration of a president deeply hostile to illegal immigration.
Garcetti, speaking at the conference in Washington D.C., said the resolution shows that “American mayors are united that we must and can fix our broken immigration system.”
Elorza, who is co-chair of the conference’s Task Force on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, pointed out that he is an East Coast Democrat and the other co-chair, Tait, is a West Coast Republican.
“This encompasses all of us,” Tait said. “All of us mayors deal with this issue on a day-to-day basis, so I think it is natural that the mayors come together to address this.”
Since Donald Trump’s election, Garcetti has taken a number of hard stances against the president-elect’s proposals on immigration, which include building a wall on the Mexican border and increasing deportations.
Garcetti said there are “too many people who live in fear. Fear that there will be a knock on their door and their American dream will come to a halt. Fear that their parents won’t be home when they come back from school. Fear that when they get back from wearing this nation’s uniform that their families will be broken up. We demand something that is better.”
In December, Garcetti announced he was supporting the city’s participation in a $10 million fund to help provide legal assistance to local immigrants facing deportation proceedings and said the plan is a direct response to Trump’s threat to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants, and other “dangerous rhetoric.”
Trump threatened during his campaign to shut off funding for so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities on illegal immigration, but Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck have both reiterated the city’s police force will continue its policy of not actively helping federal officials apprehend immigrants living in the country illegally.
An estimated $500 million in annual federal dollars is potentially at stake for Los Angeles if Trump were to follow through with the threat.
“We hope that this federal government would not enact those policies,” Garcetti said.
Trump has also vowed to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — a policy championed by President Barack Obama. DACA stops or “defers” the deportation of people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, and allows them to obtain work permits.
Garcetti told City News Service in November he is “worried” by the prospect of Trump repealing that policy, saying it would be “a horrible step backwards for this nation.”
—City News Service
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