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After President Trump makes immigration & sanctuary cities remarks, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia tells city ‘stand up for immigrants’

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, an immigrant who came to the United States at 5 years old, wants the city to “stand up” for immigrants after President Donald Trump’s signed an executive order on Wednesday that blocks “sanctuary cities” from receiving federal funds.
Garcia, the city’s youngest and first openly gay mayor, stopped short of encouraging the City Council to declare Long Beach a “sanctuary city,” a move activists have been asking leaders to do since December. Photo: Twitter.

LONG BEACH – Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, an immigrant who came to the United States at 5 years old, wants the city to “stand up” for immigrants after President Donald Trump’s signed an executive order on Wednesday that blocks “sanctuary cities” from receiving federal funds.

Garcia, the city’s youngest and first openly gay mayor, stopped short of encouraging the City Council to declare Long Beach a “sanctuary city,” a move activists have been asking leaders to do since December.

Garcia didn’t call a press conference or send a press statement in response to the president’s announcement. Garcia made his comments on Twitter.

DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS

“Let’s stand up for all Americans, including hardworking immigrants, because that’s what makes my city, and America great,” Garcia posted on Twitter..

The Press-Telegram said it requested an interview with Garcia, but was told he was traveling and unavailable.

“I will never be able to give back to my country what my country has given to me and my family. I don’t think that @POTUS understand this,” said Garcia, who is Peruvian, was 21 and about to graduate from college when he became a U.S. citizen.

“A vast majority of immigrants work hard, they love their community and want to give back. I want them to have the same opportunity I had.”

“Sanctuary city” refers to cities or counties that limit how much local law enforcement will cooperate with ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Nationwide, more than 300 counties and 39 cities have adopted some version of sanctuary, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

CALIFORNIA TRUST ACT

The city did issue a statement on behalf of the police department explaining its decision to not hold people based on immigration violations, the Press-Telegram reported.

“Enforcing immigration at the local level undermines the trust and cooperation with immigrant communities, which are essential elements of community-oriented policing.

“The Long Beach Police Department supports measures to either continue incarceration or to deport violent and serious offenders who pose a threat to our community,” the statement said.

Long Beach officials have said numerous times in the past that, in general, it does not turn over detainees to federal officials solely on immigration violations, per the California Trust Act, which prohibits local jails from detaining undocumented nonfelons simply because ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, agents ask them to hold them.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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