Pasadena city council approves stronger immigrant protections

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Pasadena City Council approved a resolution Monday calling for the city to strengthen its protections for immigrants.

The measure comes as President Donald Trump's administration enforces tougher measures against undocumented immigrants and calls on "sanctuary cities" to begin cooperating with the federal government or face the loss of funds.

Activists were calling on Pasadena to declare itself a sanctuary city and enact strong protections for immigrants.

The approved measure didn't use the term sanctuary city. Many activists called it a step in the right direction, while others said it didn't go far enough.

The measure lists steps that city employees will take to protect immigrants, including protecting information about a person's immigration status and not asking the police department to enforce federal immigration laws.

The Pasadena police restated their longstanding policy of not enforcing immigration law and only engaging with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if it involves matters of national security.

Some residents at the council meeting said they were afraid of being separated from family members who were undocumented immigrants. Others said they were afraid of reporting crimes because of possible questions about their status.

Earlier in the day, an "Immigrants Welcome Concert" was held at All Saints Church. The attendees rallied for better protections for immigrants.

"We need to take care of all of our people. Families and children and everybody matter, you know. I'm hoping that other people think I matter, too," Eagle Rock resident Anastacia Stewart said.

Organizer Lizbeth Mateo said this kind of community action is more important than ever now that President Donald Trump is enforcing stricter immigration rules.

Sanctuary cities received a clear warning from Attorney General Jeff Sessions: comply with Trump's orders on immigration laws or lose grants from the Department of Justice.

"I strongly urge our nation's states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws and rethink these policies," he said.

He added that jurisdictions have to prove that they're not sanctuary cities and that they'll notify the feds if they have undocumented immigrants in custody.

But many people said that enforcing immigration laws is the job of the federal government, not the city or county. For now, immigrants' rights activists said they just want everyone to feel secure.
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