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LA Passes Resolution Declaring Itself A 'Welcoming City' For Refugees

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles City Council Friday passed a resolution which declares L.A. a "welcoming city" for refugees, this after President Donald Trump signed an executive order giving cities and states the right to refuse the resettlement of refugees.

The L.A. City Council approved the resolution unanimously in a meeting at Van Nuys City Hall. The council noted that it will press the Trump administration to increase the number of refugees the U.S. admits.

"There's so many more refugees from so many more places that are facing...high possibility of death or high possibility of persecution, and we are doing less and less," L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz said Friday.

On Sept. 26, Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a process by which cities and states can decide whether to "consent, in writing, to the resettlement of refugees."

Trump's cabinet members must have the policy in place by Dec. 25.

The administration has lowered the number of refugees the nation takes in from about 100,000 two years ago to 18,000 this fiscal year.

"The current burdens on the U.S. immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle the large number of refugees," the State Department said in a news release back in September. "Prioritizing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in our country is simply a matter of fairness and common sense."

In February, the city council passed a resolution making L.A. a sanctuary city, reaffirmed existing laws limiting cooperation with federal authorities regarding immigration enforcement policies. The resolution was more of a symbolic declaration.

Other sanctuary cities in the region include San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Malibu.

In October 2017, then Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 54, the sanctuary state legislation that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally. Under it, police are barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in immigration enforcement activities. Jail officials are only allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.

At least a dozen cities across the Southland, however, have come out in opposition to sanctuary state laws since early 2018, including Santa Clarita, Newport Beach and Aliso Viejo. The Orange County Sheriff's Department, whose leadership opposes the sanctuary laws, last year began providing public information on when inmates are released from custody. A "Who's in Jail" online database includes the date and time of inmates' release. OCSD made it clear the goal is to assist ICE agents.

Cities publicly opposed to sanctuary status have either opted out of the laws or are joining the federal government in suing California.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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