The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to establish a law to prohibit hotels from holding migrant children and families who have been detained by private security companies for being in the country illegally.
The proposal was introduced by Councilman Gil Cedillo in August to prohibit and suspend certificates of occupancy for any hotel in Los Angeles used to house and detain migrants under the direction of private security companies.
Cedillo referenced an article published by The New York Times at the time he filed his motion that said the Best Western Plus Dragon Gate Inn in Chinatown was being used to house immigrants, as was a Quality Suites in San Diego; Hampton Inn locations in Phoenix, Arizona, and McAllen and El Paso, Texas; a Comfort Suites hotel in Miami; and an Econo Lodge in Seattle.
“I was absolutely appalled after reading a New York Times article that a private company is detaining migrant children at the Best Western Plus Dragon Gate Inn in my district,” Cedillo said. “There is zero tolerance for this cruel practice by the White House to separate and detain migrant children and families, and it is unacceptable not only in the First Council District but in the city of Los Angeles or anywhere in this country. The White House’s war against immigrants must end here and now.”
According to the Times, the Trump administration has been using major hotel chains to detain children and families taken into custody at the Mexican border, creating what the newspaper described as a largely unregulated shadow system of detention and swift expulsions without the safeguards that are intended to protect the most vulnerable migrants.
ICE officials told the newspaper that children who have been detained at the hotels are being adequately cared for and emphasized that the swift expulsion is necessary to protect the country from the spread of COVID-19.
Heather Rozman, executive director of The Hotel Association of Los Angeles, in August condemned the use of Southern California hotels as migrant detention centers and called on any hotel providing rooms for such purpose to stop immediately.
“We applaud Councilmember Gil Cedillo for his quick and appropriate response, ensuring the safety and fair treatment of every individual, no matter their country of origin,” Rozman said.
The City Attorney’s Office will prepare the draft ordinance to prohibit hotels from holding immigrants for full council consideration.