Back when President Trump was still on the campaign trail, one of his most prominent promises – and perhaps one of the most controversial – was to order the deportation of the over 10 million illegal immigrants currently residing within the United States. Although that dream, being only a campaign promise, is likely to never come to fruition, Trump has indeed made the best of his efforts to follow suit on what was has promised, with countless undocumented immigrants being arrested and deported at a rate far higher than the Obama Administration.
With the city of Los Angeles having such a large undocumented immigrant population – over one million – this naturally comes as a large shock. The one million undocumented immigrants living in Los Angeles serve as one of the largest illegal immigrant populations in the United States, second to only similarly large cities such as New York.
Many of these immigrants were brought to the U.S. as children, and have been living as Americans their entire lives. In an effort to protect these people – ordinary Americans in every way but official status – one of the hallmarks of the Obama Administration was to introduce DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program – whose goal was to help delay deportation for these immigrants and help them obtain a work visa – resulted in massive benefits for these DACA-enrolled immigrants as well as a boost to the economy.
All of this, of course, has made Donald Trump’s decision to rescind DACA and continue to deport as many illegal immigrants as possible all the more devastating. And with no other way to combat Trump’s disastrous policies, many cities opposing the rescinding of DACA have turned to a drastic solution – becoming sanctuary cities.
Sanctuary cities are essentially cities that oppose the government’s policy on immigration and its efforts to impose immigration law. For these cities, that means resisting Trump Administration efforts to both deport illegal immigrants and stop sanctuary cities from serving as safe havens for their undocumented immigrant population.
Although Los Angeles, one of the most prominent cities in resisting Trump, has helped to pave the way for these cities, it has never fully embraced the label until very recently. Although it remains a symbolic gesture, for now, the decision to officially become a sanctuary city not only helps protect illegal immigrants from deportation but also sets L.A. apart as a leader in the Trump resistance.
L.A. leaders have refrained from labeling the city as a “sanctuary city” due to its apparent mismatch with the city’s actual policies. However, in the light of the aforementioned DACA repeal, this decision – whether it be symbolic or practical – could not have come at a better time.