Los Angeles, CA -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously (11-0) approved a Resolution in support of the Access to Counsel Act, introduced by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 22, 2017
LA CITY LEADERS SUPPORT ACCESS TO LEGAL COUNSEL FOR IMMIGRANTS DETAINED UPON ENTRY TO U.S.
Los Angeles, CA -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously (11-0) approved a Resolution in support of the Access to Counsel Act, introduced by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). The Act would ensure that individuals being held or detained at a port of entry or at any detention facility overseen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would be guaranteed access to legal counsel.
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order designed to restrict, and in some cases block entirely, the entry of refugees into the United States, from seven predominantly Muslim countries, creating chaos and uncertainty at airports across the globe. Travelers from all walks of life -- students, those travelling on business, scientists, tourists and even the bereaved who were travelling for funerals -- many of whom were green card holders and even U.S. citizens, were detained for hours with limited or no access to legal counsel.
In the wake of the Muslim Ban, a federal court in Virginia issued a temporary restraining order mandating that legal permanent residents returning from abroad should have access to lawyers while being detained at Dulles International Airport, and a federal judge in Washington State issued a temporary halt to the ban. The Trump Administration has since released a revised executive order which has been struck down by federal court judges in Hawaii and Maryland.
“As an immigrant, I’m appalled by the Trump Administration’s blatant disregard for the values Americans hold dear,” said Councilmember Ryu. “Immigrants have been a part of the tapestry that has defined us for centuries. We are students, teachers, neighbors and friends, and we are six in ten main street business owners in Los Angeles. Moreover, access to legal counsel is a fundamental right, and I couldn’t be more proud to stand with leaders in Los Angeles and across the nation to resist this Administration’s threats against our most vulnerable residents.”
“The right of access to counsel is critical for those who have been detained because their liberty and safety may be at stake,” said Senator Harris. “When the original Muslim ban went into effect, we heard countless stories of immigrants who were arriving and asking to have access to lawyers on the other side of the door, and were denied access – that’s why this bill is so vital. No one should be exploited because of their lack of knowledge of our legal system.”
The City of Los Angeles joins nearly 40 leading organizations from the faith-based, international, multi-ethnic, and immigrant rights communities, such as Amnesty International USA, National Council of La Raza, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Bet Tzedek, Church World Services, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles, to support the Access to Counsel Act of 2017.
The Access to Counsel Act was introduced by U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. Co-sponsors of this legislation include United States Senators: Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Read the City of Los Angeles’ Resolution, here.
Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu represents the 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys