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WeHo, LA County Sheriff resist Trump’s plan to punish sanctuary cities

The mayor of West Hollywood and the head of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department are two more California elected officials who have publicly said they will uphold the municipality’s status as a sanctuary city despite President Donald Trump’s executive order that would strip federal funds from cities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal officials who want to deport them exclusively based on their immigration status. Photo: City of West Hollywood.

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The mayor of West Hollywood and the head of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department are two more California elected officials who have publicly said they will uphold the municipality’s status as a sanctuary city despite President Donald Trump’s executive order that would strip federal funds from cities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal officials who want to deport them exclusively based on their immigration status.

West Hollywood’s defiance on Wednesday of Trump’s plan took place about the same time that Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia Tweeted that he wants the City to “stand up” for immigrants. Garcia, an immigrant who came to the United States at 5 years old and the 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.

WEST HOLLYWOOD ACTION

West Hollywood, however, took the extra step that Garcia didn’t. In response to Trump’s announcement, the City of West Hollywood released a statement regarding actions taken by the City Council last month.

At its December 5 meeting, the council “declared that it will remain a sanctuary city and that it will not participate in any effort to deport immigrants living or working in the City.”

The statement also said that the council directed the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station “not to provide assistance to federal agencies who are attempting to harass, arrest, or deport undocumented workers or immigrants.”

LA COUNTY SHERIFF RESISTS

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, whose agency is the nation’s largest sheriff’s department and patrols areas including West Hollywood, Lakewood, Bellflower, Cerritos and Paramount, said he would follow state law on the subject.

The California Trust Act, which became law in 2014, prohibits local jails from detaining undocumented nonfelons simply because Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents ask them to hold them.

“Our priority continues to be protecting our public,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Our department policy clearly states that our deputies do not ask for one’s immigration status. Immigration enforcement remains a federal responsibility.”

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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