LA introduces fund for immigrant rights

The city looking to combat Trump’s deportation threat

IN conjunction with city officials and philanthropists, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the installation of a $10 million fund dedicated to assisting the city’s undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

The announcement comes amid the historic election of President-elect Donald Trump, who has proposed stringent immigration plans, including deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.

If passed by the city, starting early next year, the LA Justice Fund will challenge proposed policies from both the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress.

“People who have built their lives in America have rights, and they deserve all of the protections that our legal system provides,” Garcetti said in a statement released on Monday, December 19. “The LA Justice Fund will reach out to people who are American by every measure except the papers they hold — our family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. They are part of our community, and we will fight for them.”

The reserve is a collaboration of the City of LA, the County of LA, the California Community Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and the California Endowment. The government will provide $5 million with the other $5 million coming from private foundations.

According to the city, the LA Justice Fund is one of the first programs that allocates local taxpayer money into providing legal services for the city’s undocumented community. Garcetti stated in a press conference that the fund will help “law-abiding” immigrants, but clarified that the those with a criminal history would not be denied help.

As many of the city’s undocumented immigrants fear for their future in the midst of the election, the City of LA has reassured the community that its lawmakers will maintain itself “as a welcoming and inclusive city.”

Soon after the election, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) announced that it will uphold Special Order #40, which restricts officers from conducting investigations solely based on a person’s immigration status.

The city’s efforts to provide protections and offer legal help to migrants who can’t afford attorneys matches similar endeavors at the state level.

On Monday, December 5, several members of the state Legislature announced a series of bills dedicated to challenging Trump’s immigration promises and protecting the rights of undocumented immigrants.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) and Senate Leader Pro-Tempore Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) have initiated resolutions that urge the president-elect to retract on his promise for mass deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants.

“Immigrants are a part of California’s history, our culture, and our society,” Rendon said in a statement. “They pay taxes, sometimes more than billionaires, and they help drive the engine that makes California the 6th largest economy in the world. With this package of legislation we are telling the next Administration and Congress: if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.”

De Leon assured Californians that the state would not resort to the inhumane immigration practices in the 1950s under President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback”, which Trump previously praised.

Filipino-American Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) earlier this month proposed AB 3, which would create state-funded centers to train defense attorneys and public defenders on immigration law and the implications of criminal conviction.

“Immigration is critical for keeping alive the American dream — a dream that the United States is the land of opportunity for people from all over the world,” Bonta said at the press conference. “I’m proud to support a package of bills that protect California’s immigrant population and challenge our society to end policies profiling and discrimination based on race or religion.”

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