Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price stood Friday near the entrance to City Hall, with about 50 supporters behind him, to denounce President Donald Trump while outlining his $1 million plan aimed at helping local immigrants.
“I’m sad to say this is a shameful chapter in American history. During the current Trump administration, we’re seeing our immigrant community and their families driven deeper into the shadows,” Price said.
Price introduced a motion to use his district’s discretionary funds to create a partnership with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Central American Resource Center and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration to help immigrants with naturalization applications, deportation defense, or referrals for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy and other services.
His motion comes in response to the Trump administration’s ramp-up of immigration enforcement actions nationwide. An executive order detailing a plan to increase Border Patrol agents by the thousands and build a wall along the Mexican border said many immigrants in the country illegally “present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”
Price said he had seen levels of “hysteria” his district, with residents fearing that construction zones are immigration checkpoints.
“For the past couple weeks, my office has been fielding heartbreaking and disturbing phone calls,” he said. “Parents afraid to do everyday things like going to the laundromat or spend an afternoon with the family at a local park. Children concerned if their parents are going to come back to tuck them in at night.”
Each council member has access to discretionary funds that come from several different sources, including surplus property sales. The amount of funds available each year varies per district and can be up to $1 million to $2 million annually, but some of the revenue sources have strict guidelines in place on how the monies can be spent.
When Price’s office announced the plan earlier this week, it did not include the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, but the motion calls for CHIRLA and CARACEN to receive $500,000 each and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration to receive $25,000.
Price aide Angelia Valencia said the councilman had run his plan by the chief legislative analyst’s office and city attorney’s office.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon appeared alongside Price to offer his support for the motion.
“As we know, these are very turbulent times, these are very difficult times. But during very difficult times, during very extraordinary times, they call for extraordinary action,” de Leon said.
An estimated 19 percent of the population of Price’s 9th Council District, which spans the edge of downtown into South L.A., is undocumented and 13 percent are eligible for citizenship, according to the motion.
Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA, said the Trump administration has been “relentless and cruel during its first month in office,” and the organization wants to use the $500,000 to reach 4,500 families with immigration services over the next year.
“We must go from fear to action, and this is what we mean by action, and investment in the community is action,” Salas said.
The council also is considering a $2 million contribution to a $10 million legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation. The idea for the fund was announced in December by Mayor Eric Garcetti, with $3 million coming from Los Angeles County and $5 million from the private sector.
— City News Service
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