As President Donald Trump continues to push his immigration policies, which include mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, churches and government leaders throughout L.A. County are preparing for a showdown.
Last week, the Malibu City Council voted 3-2 in favor of a resolution to become a sanctuary city. Backers said the move is a chance for Malibu’s privileged to stand up for the city’s vulnerable population.
Los Angeles has officially vowed to defy federal immigration officials by not cooperating with orders by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Mayor Eric Garcetti put the stance in writing on Tuesday with an executive directive.
At a press conference, the mayor stood with Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to underscore the city’s decision to expand their immigration policy.
The Los Angeles Police Department stopped asking citizens about immigration status years ago. Now, the practice has expanded to include the Los Angeles City Fire Department and the Los Angeles Airport Police.
Executive Directive 20 will also keep the information of citizens at city facilities private.
"The city of Los Angeles doesn't ask questions about where you come from or what language you speak or how you worship God, it is in our power to keep everyone safe," Garcetti said.
Beck added, "In L.A. we don't care what color your skin is, where your parents come from or what language you speak. We are your police department.”
The LAPD stopped honoring ICE detainers back in 2014 unless a warrant signed by a judge is presented. Garcetti also said education is the best defense against fear, and that efforts would be made to inform immigrants of their rights.
Several houses of worship are offering their premises as living quarters for some people. However, noting that people are more vulnerable living in churches, members of LA Voice — a coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques — are offering sanctuary in their own homes. Executive director, Rev. Zachary Hoover hopes to find shelter for more than 150 people.
Sanctuary needs to be “a temporary” thing, Rev. Francisco Garcia Jr. of Holy Faith Episcopal Church in Inglewood, told the L.A. Times. “If it’s not a (deportation) case that’s likely to get overturned, (offering sanctuary) doesn’t make sense … for the family and for the movement.”
Not everyone thinks California should be home to sanctuary cities. “We have so many homeless in California, so many vets in need, so many children who can’t read. Why are we spending our time and energy on people who are breaking our laws?” asked John Goya, a pro-Trump supporter in Long Beach.