Feb 222017

New Immigration Enforcement And L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti made the following statement on DHS Plans for Implementing the President’s Executive Orders on Immigration:

“Stoking fears of mass deportation, turning our backs on refugees and children, denying asylum-seekers the right to see a judge, and showing indifference to suffering are not policies to make us safer — they’re a cruel abandonment of everything we believe as Americans and stand for as Angelenos.

Whether they live in Van Nuys or Virginia, East L.A. or East Lansing — Americans everywhere expect their leaders in Washington to act with the justice, grace, and tolerance that give us our identity. The Administration’s release today of details on how it will implement the President’s executive orders on immigration enforcement reveal plans that run counter to fundamental American principles: Protecting our homeland means focusing on criminals who pose a threat to our safety and security — not turning local police into a deportation force or creating widespread fear by targeting hardworking immigrants who contribute so much to our economy, culture, and spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. And that no matter who is in power, people who have already built lives in this country — or seek refuge from violent persecution, religious oppression, and other extreme hardships — should never have to live in fear of their families being torn apart, and should be able to count on all of the protections that our Constitution and judicial system provide.

Los Angeles stands firm on those ideals, and I will do everything in my power — in partnership with the City Council, our City Attorney, the LAPD, advocates for immigrants, educators, and members of Congress — to protect and defend the rights of all Angelenos whose families may be unjustly affected by these orders. We will fight for the people who call our communities home, and stay committed to leading with the humanity and openness that define us as a people.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles’ Mayor’s statement is noble and courageous. At some point however the authority of the City and the State ends and is superseded by the Federal authority.

President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration were explained during a press conference on February 21st 2017 by the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. A memorandum of the Department of Homeland Security explains which specific groups of undocumented immigrants are priorities for removal. The people who:
(a) have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(b) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
(c) have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States;
(g) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

During immigration raids, none of the above exempts the undocumented immigrants who don’t pose a threat to national security and who didn’t break any but one of American laws by entering the Country illegally. Some of them have been detained and deported already. While a panic is spreading across the nation, Sean Spicer reassured that: “everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time.” The new immigration guidelines open the door for mass deportations in accordance with “expedited removal” procedures. “Expedited removal” vastly reduces court proceedings, meaning the undocumented immigrants will be either deprived of access to the justice system entirely or have access to appeal or otherwise defend themselves severely limited.

To have the new immigration regulations enforced efficiently, the President is increasing the budget of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, etc. There will be thousands more immigration officers and judges and many more detention centers to expedite deportations.

As far as we know, for now at least, DACA and the protections it provides for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children will remain in effect as the sole exception to the wide-reaching immigration sweep.

When we think of undocumented immigrants, we usually imagine people illegally sneaking into our Country and compromising our safety. We think of these people as “them”, not “us”. As much as this image and reference is true in a small percentage of cases, in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t “them”, it’s very much “us” and about “us”. Why? Because the undocumented immigrants have legally-American and / or American-born families. The new immigration guidelines and enforcement are not just a punishment to undocumented immigrants but a huge disruption to all Americans: American families torn apart, American children not being sent to school, taken to a doctor or vaccinated, crimes not being reported, no eyewitnesses to accidents, significant changes in economy, etc. Many are terrified of a sudden separation of their family. The fear affects the “illegals”, traumatizes their legal families including children and negatively affects normal functioning of the community.

This is only the beginning, what to expect? Increase in psychological problems, crises in several industries, crime, diseases, homelessness, an urgent need for orphanages for American children separated from their parents, not to mention high anxiety in ethnic American citizen communities that anticipate being targeted based on profiling.

Significant and negative impact on local economy will lower our standard of living. High anxiety and fear of authorities will not only disrupt normal functioning of communities but diminish our safety and wellness. If you think about it, the consequences of the new immigration guidelines and enforcement will reverberate throughout the society at large and affect us nearly as much as the illegal immigrants.

Perhaps we should secure our borders first and then deal with the undocumented immigrants already here humanely, in a fashion befitting a nation of immigrants? This way future immigration problems would be prevented, current immigration problems would be solved while the rest of the nation would continue functioning without fear, increase in disease and crime or economic instability. Such a gentler and more diplomatic approach would also strengthen relationships with our neighbors and help preserve the international image of America as compassionate, fair and respectful of human rights. Just a thought.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich



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Jul 262016
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer Takes Action To Reclaim South L.A.

Fighting crime and gangs: Federal and Local Special Abatement Operations Unit has filed 40 actions and obtained 56 injunctions requiring comprehensive improvements to nuisance properties. (Including buildings’ security surveillance)

City Attorney Mike Feuer Takes Action to Take Back South L.A. Community from Notorious Crips Street Gangs; Buildings Sites of Rampant Drug Sales, Gang Activity, Gun Possession

In a sustained effort to rid the city of gang and crime infested properties, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed lawsuits against the owners of a duplex and fourplex in South Los Angeles. The apartment buildings are alleged strongholds for the Neighborhood Crips street gangs and have been the sites of rampant criminal activity including drug sales and gun possession.

“No neighborhood should have to endure these conditions,” said Feuer. “We’ll continue to target centers of illegal activity like these and take back our communities.”

“When we confirm clear evidence of drug sales and illegal weapons, it is incumbent on the city to take proactive steps to get to the source of the problem” said Councilmember Harris Dawson. “This is a smart approach that will mitigate the immediate problem of drug sales as well as prevent future problems by placing corrective conditions on the property, so that it doesn’t go right back to being the neighborhood drug house.”

The City Attorney has filed an abatement lawsuit against Christopher Darnell Evans and Carl Amos, trustees for the duplex building located at 4406 S. Gramercy Place and within a half-mile of four public schools and two churches. Evans is a documented 46 Neighborhood Crips gang member and has taken over the property following the death of his father in 2012, allegedly encouraging and participating in narcotics sales and gang crime.

Just in the past two months, LAPD officers have conducted four controlled narcotics purchases at the property and made multiple narcotics-related arrests of gang members. Defendant Evans was allegedly involved in selling narcotics during at least two of the purchases. LAPD also made two arrests at the property including one of a gang member for concealing a gun in a vehicle and one of a felon in possession of a stolen gun.

A concurrent lawsuit was filed against Darwin and Ethel Hudson, the owners of a fourplex apartment building located at 5700 South Budlong Avenue. The property is allegedly controlled by the 57 Neighborhood Crips criminal street gang and used as a walk-up site for narcotics sales out of the garage. The property is located within 1,000 feet of a middle school and elementary school.

City Attorney Mike Feuer Takes Action To Reclaim South L.A.

Between September 2015 and May 2016 LAPD conducted 12 controlled narcotics purchases at the property including 10 rock cocaine purchases by informants.

Both lawsuits seek an injunction prohibiting gang and criminal activity on the property, physical and managerial improvements to the property including: an internet-connected video monitoring system; improved lighting; secure gating and fencing; improved tenant screening and lease enforcement procedures; and armed, licensed security guards.

Since July, 2013, City Attorney Feuer’s Federal and Local Special Abatement Operations Unit has filed 40 actions similar to these and obtained 56 injunctions requiring comprehensive physical and managerial improvements to nuisance properties. In this same time period, the office has also successfully secured the closure of five gang/narcotics locations and recovered over $270,000 in costs and fees.

Feuer also recently established an easy-to-use online method through which residents may report properties with gang and/or narcotics activity in their neighborhoods. He’s asking residents to report these properties by calling his office at (213) 978-8340.