Politics

Los Angeles mayor expands immigrant protections

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a town hall in Los Angeles, California, in this February 22, 2017 file photo. Garcetti signed an executive order Tuesday asking city officials to follow the Police Department's policy of not investigating people to determine their immigration status.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a town hall in Los Angeles, California, in this February 22, 2017 file photo. Garcetti signed an executive order Tuesday asking city officials to follow the Police Department's policy of not investigating people to determine their immigration status.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is expanding protections for immigrants in the country illegally.

An executive order signed Tuesday asks city officials to follow the Police Department's policy of not investigating people to determine their immigration status. It applies to the fire chief and chiefs of airport and port police.

The order also bans any city employee from cooperating with federal agents in enforcing federal civil immigration laws unless legally required to do so.

Garcetti says immigrants are the engine of L.A.'s economy, with nearly two out of three residents foreign-born or the children of immigrants.

"Immigration is at the heart of the American story, because people from everywhere have made immeasurable contributions to the diversity, ingenuity, and cultural richness that defines who we are. That is especially true in Los Angeles, and people who have made a home here deserve all of the resources and protection their City can provide," Garcetti said in a written statement.

President Trump has threatened to withhold funds from cities that won't cooperate with immigration enforcement.

Garcetti and mayors of dozens of other cities called Tuesday for an overhaul of the nation's immigration system.

The mayor also stopped by the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, also known as CHIRLA, to encourage immigrants to seek help from community organizations.

"Very scary time for many families," said CHIRLA spokesman Jorge-Mario Cabrerra. "We want to let them know they're not alone." He added that last year, his organization was able to help about 25 families seeking temporary guardianship letters. 

"In spite of what may be happening, nationally and locally in terms of ICE enforcement measures and the separation of our families, immigrants have rights and we have tools available for them so they can begin learning about how to protect themselves and their families," he said.