Los Angeles is believed to be home of one of the largest populations of undocumented immigrants. Despite some promises to protect them, some activists say they haven’t seen any substantial actions from elected officials.
Immigrant rights activists took to the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, and then the council chambers., demanding that city officials make good on several promises backing the LA Justice Fund.
“We are asking for strong sanctuary policies from the city,” said Rabeya Sen, from Esperanza Community Housing Corp.
“I’m here to support representation vs deportation,” said Lee Plaza from Pilipino Workers Center.
The Justice Fund, which would be used to help undocumented immigrants legal expenses, as well as an executive order that bans city employees and public safety personnel from cooperating with immigration officials, was announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti last March.
However, activists say that city council is yet to take concrete steps.
“It hasn’t put what they promise is a budget for the LA Justice Fund; they haven’t voted on it,” said Myrla Baldonado. “Not a single cent went to that so we’re here right now to push for that, that there will be representation.”
This action comes as several Latino families are going through deportation orders.
The Pilipino Workers Center says they’ve seen more undocumented Filipinos reach out to them for services.
“Pag may na huli Pinoy, the Pinoy will be in jail kasi wala sya pera, and which is more likely we are composed of mostly low income immigrants na walang saving,” said Baldonado. “Where do you get money to get representation for an immigration attorney?”
The city council is expected to bring up the issues next week.
While they have adopted a budget that sets aside a million dollars for the $10 million fund, they are also considering restrictions on if the Justice Funds should be available to undocumented immigrants with prior criminal records.
Activists say the funds should be universal.