For Immediate Release: March 7, 2023



LOS ANGELES — Today, Councilmembers Nithya Raman, Eunisses Hernandez, and Hugo Soto-Martinez introduced legislation directing the City to report back on an ordinance to establish the City of Los Angeles as a “Sanctuary City” and prohibit any City resources, property or personnel from being utilized for any federal immigration enforcement.

While the City Council has previously passed a symbolic resolution declaring Los Angeles a “City of Sanctuary,” it has not codified sanctuary policies into municipal law. The City’s current relationship with federal immigration agencies is shaped by an executive directive issued by former Mayor Eric Garcetti and internal LAPD policies. These policies are subject to change under future administrations and have yet to be enshrined as permanent protections for Los Angeles immigrants. 

The Councilmembers’ motion directs the City to prepare an ordinance that would permanently enshrine sanctuary policies into municipal law and ensure that no City resources, property, or personnel are used for federal immigration enforcement. It would also close critical gaps in existing policy and limit direct and indirect data sharing with federal immigration authorities and contracted private companies engaged in immigration enforcement activities. 

“I came to this country with my mother as an immigrant when I was six years old, arriving in the United States because we sought a better life, and I am so grateful for the opportunities this country has given me and my family,” said Councilmember Raman. “Immigrants make up the very fabric of this city. Prohibiting the use of City resources for federal immigration enforcement shouldn’t depend only on executive actions that could be overturned by a future Mayor or Police Chief. These are fundamental protections that should be enshrined in our laws going forward.” 

“Los Angeles is a city of immigrants. As the daughter of two Mexican immigrants myself, I know how important and overdue these protections are to our community members,” said Councilmember Hernandez. “Symbolic gestures are not enough. Internal policies that can be changed from one day to the next are not enough. Our undocumented residents deserve safety and security. It is long past time for Los Angeles to permanently codify protections for our undocumented community members into City law.”

“More than one out of three people who live in Los Angeles, including my own parents, are immigrants. One in ten are undocumented,” said Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez. “This is an important and long overdue step to codify protections for undocumented immigrants into law so we can finally make Los Angeles a true Sanctuary City.”

“It is long overdue for Los Angeles to step up and pass a true Sanctuary City policy,” said Shiu-Ming Cheer, Deputy Director of Programs & Campaigns, California Immigrant Policy Center. “The past few years have taught us that promises don’t protect communities when the balance of power shifts.The City must use the power it has now to stand up for migrants and ensure that no City resources are ever used for federal immigration enforcement.” 

“As a transgender woman, community advocate, and immigrant residing in LA for the last 14 years, I stand with The TransLatin@ Coalition and Councilmembers Hernandez, Raman and Soto-Martinez in support of making Los Angeles a sanctuary city,” said Miranda Garcia, Client and Community Advocate, The TransLatin@ Coalition. “The time is now for our City leaders to truly stand with all immigrant communities and support policies that unite families and allow us to thrive.” 

The motion also directs the City to prohibit inquiring about or collecting information about an individual’s immigration status; engaging in investigation or enforcement related to an individual’s immigration status; providing immigration authorities access to any non-public areas, including jails, without a valid search or arrest warrant; or providing access to City databases or to any individual’s personal information or other data to federal immigration authorities.