The Los Angeles City Council’s presumptive immigrant advocate says that effective opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies will need to come from the local level and not Washington D.C.
Peter Schey was presented to the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Immigrant Affairs by Council President Herb Wesson, who recommended he be approved as the immigrant advocate. Chief Legislative Analyst Shan Tso also recommended in a report that Schey be appointed to the role.
Schey, a civil rights attorney, said that after talking with others who oppose Trump’s immigration policies, it became obvious to him that “this was not a battle that can be led by national organizations based in the beltway of Washington D.C., that this was an issue that had to be led at a local level.”
The immigrant advocate will serve as an advisor to the council, and Schey has agreed to serve on a pro bono basis for $1 per year for a one-year term. Schey was approved by the committee Wednesday and will still need to be approved by the full council for his role to become official.
Schey is the founder and president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. He is also the co-founder of El Rescate and the Coalition for Humane and Immigration Reform of Los Angeles, and the founder of the National Immigration Law Center.
In his comments to the committee, Schey said that Trump’s argument that cracking down on immigrants in the country illegally will improve public safety is a false one.
“I think they are fake immigration laws, they are not real,” Schey said. “They are not based on anything empirical, they’re not based on what migration experts think about the subject, they are not based on any sort of personal observations of stakeholders who have worked with this population.”
Trump has threatened to build a wall along the Mexican border, increase deportations and cut off funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.
Wesson, who is not on the committee, painted the struggle against Trump’s immigration actions in dire terms.
“If you want to put the target on the backs of our immigrant community, then you might as well put that target on my back too, because I stand with you,” Wesson said.
“And I think that’s the message that we in Los Angeles have to send loud and clear. But let’s do it with clarity, let’s do it with intelligence, lets do it with a plan and let’s do it led by (Schey) the individual that I believe is by far the most qualified person to do this.”
–City News Service
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