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LA City Council to Minutemen: Go Home!

by Leslie Radford Saturday, Feb. 04, 2006 at 3:43 PM
leslie@radiojustice.net

In a stinging denunciation, the L.A. City Council goes on record against the Minutemen and Save Our State, but ices out the farmers.

LOS ANGELES, February 3, 2006--The Los Angeles City Council this morning issued an official and harsh rebuke to inland and border anti-migrant vigilantes.

The Council moved Item No. 7 to second position on the agenda, effectively declaring it a consent item. The Council resolved to "include in the City’s 2005-06 State and Federal Legislative Program, SUPPORT of State or Federal Legislation denouncing and prohibiting the vigilante actions of individuals against immigrants along the border and within urban communities and enact immigration reform leading towards a path of permanent status for immigrants here now and wider legal channels for those coming in the future."

Apparently anticipating unanimous consent, Council President Eric Garcetti asked scheduled public speakers, all in support, to forego their comments. Without opposition from the council or the public, the vote was 10-0, with Ed Reyes (1st District), Dennis Zine (3rd District), Tom LaBonge (4th District), Jack Weiss, (5th District), Alex Padilla (7th District), Herb Wesson (10th District), Bill Rosendahl (11th District) Greig Smith (12th District), and Janice Hahn (15th District) present and voting in favor.

The resolution, put forward by Garcetti and Reyes, originated with in the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

Welcome to L.A. for the March and Caravan for Migrants

Although city officials may have been unaware of it, the resolution's passage is a city welcome to the March for Migrants, a cross-country caravan scheduled to arrive this evening at 6:00 p.m. at Placita Olvera, after a 5:30 p.m. march from the downtown Federal Building. The evening will mark the deaths of Guillermo Martinez Rodriguez, who was shot in the back last month with a hollow point bullet fired at less than twenty feet by a border patrol agent, and the thousands of others who have died crossing the border since the 1994 inception of Operation Gatekeeper. United Farm Workers co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus Dolores Huerta will lead a vigil at La Placita Church.

The caravan will stop in Fresno, San Francisco, and Sacramento to meet with state legislators. In Arizona, caravanners will memorialize border deaths in Tucson, El Paso, and San Antonio, with a special ceremony at the Alamo. Then they're on to Victoria where 19 migrants died in a semi, Houston, and the JFK Memorial in Dallas. Other scheduled stops include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Atlanta with a special message for CNN'S Lou Dobbs. After passing through North Carolina, the March for Migrants will end its journey in Washington, DC with a strong message of "no" to HR4437 and to the recent wave of right wing anti-migrant legislation, including meetings with Senators McCain and Kennedy, as well as other key legislators, including members of the Hispanic caucus.

Public Comments: HR 4437, the South Central Farm, and Lincoln Heights

In other business this morning, the City Council heard from several citizens and citizen groups. La Placita Immigrants Working Group, CARECEN, and the Immigration Solidarity Network asked the Council to oppose HR 4437 and support a plan that leads to permanent residency and citizenship, and to reaffirm its support for Special Order 40, which prevents the police from questioning, detaining or interrogating persons solely because of suspected undocumented immigration status. In a stunning 10-day mobilization, over 10,000 signatures were collected on a petition supporting the position, according to CARECEN spokesperson Elda Martinez. The City Council received the petition and is expected to take up the request in the next week.

Also notable among the public comments were half a dozen South Center Farmers, who pleaded with the Council to take action in what they called the "dire situation" at the farm. Only Reyes, Padilla, and LaBonge were seated to hear their plaint. Padilla buried his head and sorted papers (as he did throughout public comments). Reyes rubbed his face and head in apparent frustration. Rosendahl, usually noteworthy for his strong statements in support of the people's interests, was buried in a corner consulting with suited bystanders.

Some of the remaining residents of Lincoln Heights begged the Council to find a way to keep them in their homes. Supporters presented evidence indicating other housing was out of reach of the aging, fixed-income residents. Two decades-long residents, one aided by a cane and the arm of a younger person, broke into tears as they asked the Council for relief. Two Council members, including Rosendahl, added their concern.

Full Resolution of the Los Angeles City Council Intergovernmental Relations Committee

The resolution against anti-migrant vigilantes passed by the Council reflected its endorsement of the Intergovernmental Relations Commitee's full findings, as follows:

WHEREAS, any official position of the City of Los Angeles with respect to legislation, rules, regulations or policies proposed to or pending before a local, state or federal governmental body or agency must have first been adopted in the form of a Resolution by the City Council with the concurrence of the Mayor; and

WHEREAS, more than a quarter of California's residents were born abroad and more than half of California's low-wage working families are immigrant families; and

WHEREAS, 36 percent of Los Angeles' population immigrated from abroad; and

WHEREAS, we must value the dignity of all our immigrant residents, regardless of immigration status, and recognize the importance of their many contributions to the social, religious, cultural and economic life of the City; and

WHEREAS, we must recognize the strength derived from the cultural diversity of our immigrants and diverse communities in moving toward the end of discrimination in all its forms, and

WHEREAS, the media have reported the existence of; and planned existence of, groups of private individuals who wish to take the initiative to achieve greater enforcement of the immigration laws, to prevent the entry of undocumented workers coming to the United States, and to help with the removal of persons who may be identified by those groups; and

WHEREAS, it is feared that civilian patrol groups may no longer confine their activities to border areas, but have begun to enter major urban areas, where they have videotaped day laborers or stopped people to demand proof of citizenship; and

WHEREAS, border enforcement only works when our laws are realistic and enforceable, and currently our immigration laws are neither realistic nor enforceable as they divide families and prevent civic participation by all community members; and

WHEREAS, we should strongly reject civilian attempts to enforce immigration law; they threaten the public safety and civil rights of our residents and could only be conducive to a hostile environment, scapegoating and to aggressive behavior; and

WHEREAS, the City of Los Angeles has played a leading role in the protection of immigrant rights and has consistently promoted tolerance and respect for the rights, free speech and lives of all its residents, including immigrants and their families;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, with the concurrence of the Mayor, that by the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Los Angeles hereby includes in its 2005-2006 State and Federal Legislative Program support for any legislation which 1. denounces the vigilante actions of private individuals or groups along the border and entering our urban communities to engage presumably in civilian patrol initiatives to assist the federal government in enforcing the immigration laws; 2. prohibits or otherwise hinders any vigilante type civilian action resulting in spying on others or sharing information with law enforcement officers and fosters the view that each and every person who is present within the city, county, and state, are presumptively here lawfully as citizen, legal resident, or visitor with appropriate documentation; and 3. enacts comprehensive immigration reform that combines a path to permanent status for immigrants here and wider legal channels for those coming in the future with humane and effective enforcement.

PRESENTED BY:

(signed) Eric Garcetti
Councilman, 13th District
SECONDED BY: (signed) Ed P. Reyes

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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Due to technical difficulties... Border Raven Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 4:22 AM
Border Raven Speechless Morales Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 5:11 AM
What do you expect? Quizling Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 8:25 AM
it put a damper on SOS & MM El Chivo Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 10:42 AM
This is Un-Constitutional Border Raven Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 6:41 PM
No taxation Bowman Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 10:04 PM
prohibits or otherwise hinders any vigilante type civilian action Border Raven Monday, Feb. 06, 2006 at 4:50 AM

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