Los Angeles Continues Crackdown on Immigrant Rights Supporters

The City of Los Angeles is facing a projected deficit of $360 million for the coming fiscal year and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich means business. He wants to jail all immigrant rights protesters who engaged in direct actions for up to a year at taxpayer expense.

We already wrote about Trutanich’s attack on young citizen immigrant rights protesters who shut down Wilshire Boulevard last year in support of the DREAM Act. But there seems to be a pattern here. Members from Todos Somos Arizona who blocked buses from entering a federal detention in May are also on trial. So are five Cal State Northridge students who protested last March against tuition fee hikes. It seems like Trutanich has no love for protesters in Los Angeles. Instead of fining them and putting them on probation, the city has decided to try locking up the protesters in jail.

The hypocrisy is aggravated when one considers the fact that the Los Angeles City Council has passed unanimous resolutions in support of the DREAM Act and immigration reform. Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council also denounced the anti-immigrant Arizona law and supported the boycott of Arizona. But when immigrant rights advocates took to the streets to show their opposition to anti-immigrant practices in Los Angeles, they were arrested, cited and now face criminal charges along with jail time. With support like this, who needs nativists?

Thus far, the Office of the City Attorney has not budged on the Wilshire 9. Trutanich wants to put them in jail for a whole year to teach them a lesson: young people don’t have a right to free speech when it slightly inconveniences the lives of other people even though they engaged in an action to show the great inconvenience of life as undocumented students. Putting dissenters in jail would negatively impact their lives forever, and the taxpayers would foot the cost for Trutanich’s callous decision. The case is going to trial in March unless a deal is struck between the parties.

There’s still time. Urge Los Angeles city officials to do the right thing and back their pro-immigrant resolutions with actual actions that don’t criminalize people at the expense of human rights.

Photo Credit: Carlos Amador

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