Long Beach to Become Sanctuary City

By: 
Kirt Ramirez

After California became a sanctuary state recently, City of Long Beach leaders have vowed to do all they can to protect undocumented immigrants locally.

During a Sept. 19 council meeting, councilmembers passed an agenda item that would make the city attorney draft a resolution called the Long Beach Values Act of 2017. The policy would affirm the city’s commitment to the recently passed Senate Bill 54 – also known as the “Sanctuary State” bill as well as adhere to the California Trust Act, which took effect in 2014.

In addition, the item directs the city manager – through the Office of Equity – to partner with local immigrant rights organizations and schools to help protect immigrants without papers.

The local policy will expand on SB 54 and will return to the City Council for approval in November.

Policy considerations include:

  • Protecting and advocating for local DACA and DREAMER students.
  • Preventing future deportations of local residents.
  • Examining partnerships with LA County for local legal defense fund.
  • Protecting the confidentiality of local immigrant residents and their information, and ensuring no city resources are used to create registries based on religious affiliation, immigration status or any other protected class such as gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.
  • Affirm an aggressive approach to advocating at the federal and state level for pro-immigrant policies.

“This is a city that is one of the most diverse in the United States, home to large communities of Latinos, Cambodians, Filipinos, Asian Pacific Islanders as a whole, and so many other cultures from all around the world,” said First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, the author of the motion.

Gonzalez said one in four residents in Long Beach are foreign-born and about 20 percent of those are undocumented.

“As the daughter of an immigrant myself, I know first-hand the value our immigrant community brings to the city of Long Beach, and frankly, if it wasn’t for my mother’s and my great-grandmother’s sacrifice to come here, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting in this seat,” she said. “And I don’t think that they ever thought that as immigrants that their daughter, granddaughter would be now pushing policies to protect our communities in that sense.”

Seventh District Councilman Roberto Uranga stated, “I too am the result of immigrant parents. They came from Chihuahua, Mexico. They came to El Paso, where I was born. So I’m a Mex-Tex. Then came to Los Angeles; came to Long Beach to do my studies and so on and so forth to the present where I am today.”

As a former Long Beach City College trustee, Uranga said protecting DACA participants is important.

Uranga hosted a fiesta in a park recently in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month. He said a day prior, during a reception for Latino leaders with Cal State University Long Beach President Jane Conoley, that she said the university set aside $200,000 to assist DACA participants in paying for their DACA statuses.

“That brought a chill in my skin, brought a tear to my eye,” he said. “Because there is nothing I care more about than the education of our children and this provides that opportunity. So what we are doing here today is to protect those students, to protect those participants.”

Uranga said he has a DACA participant working for him at City Hall.

“I’m here supporting this motion to protect her, because if this fails, and DACA goes away, she’s out of a job,” he said. “Not only is she out of a job, but she’s in the registry where they can find her and deport her. And I cannot stand for that.”

He said he hopes to protect DACA participants everywhere, of which there are about 800,000, brought to the U.S. as children.

Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price said she supports the item and the work that the governor and state legislature has done in regards to SB 54.

“I fully support us doing everything that we can to support those who want to gain naturalized citizenship here, helping them in any way that we can,” she said.

Price’s mother naturalized as a U.S. citizen and Price came to the U.S. when she was seven.

“I believe we live in a country that should be doing everything that we can to help people find comfort and freedom here. So I’m grateful to support this,” Price said.

All of the councilmembers voted in support of the item except for Fifth District Councilwoman Stacey Mungo.

“I support Dreamers; I support state law; I really wish that we would follow our own process. (SB) 54 is passed and this should have gone to our state legislative committee and I think that a lot of the components of this are moot at this time, but I feel that we are a city, that we support our residents and with that I hope that we can work through a process where state items go to the state committee and federal items go to the federal committee as we have set forth as our policy,” she said.

kirt@beachcomber.news

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Comments

So when we lose all our federal funding we will know who to blame: the idiots that run this city, namely the mayor and his motley crew of council members. Elections are coming up; please remember who passed this.

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