Some activists believe that not only should the L.A. Justice Fund help all immigrants but that no one should be deported — not even those convicted of violent crimes.
That position puts them at odds with others — including Democratic politicians in California and many immigrants themselves — who support deporting those convicted of violent and more grave crimes, which was a long-standing policy embraced by President Obama.
They want to focus their efforts on preventing deportations of people who simply came to the country for a better life.
“I don’t think there’s a member of Congress — Republican or Democrat — who believes that if somebody commits an egregious crime, that they shouldn’t be deported,” said Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Los Angeles), the son of Mexican immigrants. “Public safety is a very important issue to all of us.”
L.A. Councilman Gil Cedillo, a key figure in the successful push to allow immigrants who are in the country illegally to get driver’s licenses in California, said there are people who should lose the privilege of remaining in the U.S.
“I don’t want one person taken away from their family,” he said. “But that’s different from narco-traffickers or people who are engaged in sex trafficking. And I don’t know how you would try to defend that.”
Cedillo argues that the Justice Fund doesn’t deny anyone their due process rights. Rather, he said that because it can’t subsidize the cost of legal representation for all immigrants facing deportation, leaders decided not to extend it to those who engage in “universally heinous acts.”
“If you’re only involved in advocacy and you just make declaratory statements, there’s no responsibility there,” he said. “We’re responsible to all taxpayers, and the voters, and the public.”
Read the whole story in the LA Times