Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Small LA Area City Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Participate in Government


The Los Angeles Times reports on Huntington Park, a small city in the Los Angeles, on its efforts to  integrate undocumented immigrants into municipal government. 

Julian Zatarain arrived from Mexico in 2007 when he was 13. The 21-year-old college student has volunteered for the Red Cross and with an organization that helps young people like him get access to educational resources. Yesterday, Zatarain accepted an appointment to the Huntington Park parks and recreation commission.

Another undocumented immigrant, Francisco Medina, was appointed to the health and education commission. "I'm speaking out for people like me," Zatarain said.

Their appointments mark a step by the city to boost the participation of undocumented immigrants in city government.  Experts say the move reflects a growing effort in heavily Latino cities to push for more inclusion of people without legal status in public life.   "Several years ago, Maywood — which is next door to Huntington Park — made national headlines by declaring itself a `sanctuary' for those who are in the country illegally and repealed practices that some considered anti-immigrant."

This inclusion is also occurring at the state level. California this year began issuing driver's licenses to people without legal status. This summer, the California Legislature passed a measure that provides healthcare to many immigrants who are in the country without proper authorization.



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