Los Angeles City Council expands access to LA Justice Fund as protests continue over immigration

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Thursday, July 5, 2018
$10M added to LA Justice Fund as protests continue over immigration
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Los Angeles City Council members and the county Board of Supervisors approved a $10 million fund to expand the L.A. Justice Fund for children who've been separated by their parents.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles City Council members and the county Board of Supervisors approved expanding access to a $10 million fund to provide aid to children who've been separated from their parents.

The money will provide legal help for the kids. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Supervisor Hilda Solis announced creation of the fund in 2016 ahead of an immigration crackdown by President Trump. It originally was meant to help immigrants facing deportation who didn't have violent criminal pasts.

As that was approved, a protest took place in downtown right across the street from the federal building, and the "playdate protest" was made up of children and parents.

Children read testimonials from parents and children being held in detention centers.

"My son, I write you these words with immense pain in my heart to have you separated from me. But I want you to know that I miss you so much, and that every day I ask God that very soon we will be together again," Kaisi Ehresmann said as she read a letter.

Parent and protester Brie Loskota said she, her children and protesters' children were there to show their solidarity with the people who were detained.

In San Francisco, protesters blocked the gate to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building. They plan to camp out for 24 hours a day, seven days a week until their demands are met.

In Texas, volunteers reunited families that were separated at the border. A local nonprofit called RAICES - Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services - opened a hotline Tuesday for parents and children.

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, of Colorado, visited an ICE processing facility in Aurora, Colorado. He said the policy of separating families at the border is immoral, cruel and un-American.

"I remain very concerned about the process. It's just very fragmented. There are so many federal agencies involved in this with no one person in charge," he said.

The Health and Human Services Department criticizes the visits by lawmakers, saying nearly 500 work hours have been devoted to arrange the visits, which takes away from staff resources that could be used to connect kids and parents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.