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California Socialists Demand Safe Harbor, Federal Aid to Help Illegal Immigrants

immigration daca supporters march in california

Karla Alegria, an organizer for the Freedom Socialist Party’s branch in L.A., doesn’t think much of a proposal to declare the city of Los Angeles a “city of sanctuary.”

“(It) may make some of us feel warm and fuzzy, but we need something concrete,” Alegria told the Los Angeles Times.

Still, two Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Friday to declare Los Angeles a “city of sanctuary,” a move that a civil rights attorney said would be largely symbolic.

The Washington Times reported in March that there were nearly 500 cities, counties and states in America where municipal officials have pledged to be “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants. Such sanctuary is often said to include non-cooperation, to one degree or another, with federal immigration authorities.

Here it is September, and L.A., portrayed as a beacon of resistance to President Trump, has not adopted neither the phrase “sanctuary city” or “city of sanctuary” to describe its opposition to federal ICE agents carting off illegal immigrants.

Council President Herb Wesson, who along with Councilman Gil Cedilla introduced the City of Sanctuary motion Friday, said it was unfair to chastise Los Angeles for being late to the immigration enforcement resistance party.

“Los Angeles came out quickly,” Wesson said, pointing to the city’s decision to set up a panel on immigration rights. “We did our job.”

Cedilla told CBS News he and Wesson decided to move forward after reading a report from the council’s Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, and Equity Committee that included an endorsement of the “city of sanctuary” concept from civil rights attorney Peter Schey.

“People seem to have strong views on this name thing. My stance has always been that what’s important. Ultimately, yes, that sort of symbolic statement – ‘we are a city of sanctuary, we are a city of refuge,’ etc. – I think it’s important. It sets a certain tone,” Schey said.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he didn’t like the phrases “sanctuary city” or “city of sanctuary” because the terms had no meaning. In fact, Garcetti said the phrase’s only practical use would be as means by which by the Trump administration could justify cutting off federal funding to Los Angeles.

“The mayor is not focused on labels, he is focused on making sure that L.A. is always a city that protects the rights and dignity of immigrants,” Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said.

That is not sufficient for Alegria’s Freedom Socialist Party chapter in Los Angeles.

“This is more wood in the fire to fight against bigotry and against capitalism,” the Freedom Socialist Party, Los Angeles declared on its Facebook page. “Let’s keep that fire burning be turn it into a movement for all immigrants, a movement for black lives, a movement for workers, movement for trans rights, for the unhoused. To breathe, we have to fight!”