(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Originally published by LA Times

Los Angeles City Council members Herb Wesson and Gil Cedillo plan to unveil a motion Friday to declare the city a sanctuary for immigrants, a move that comes after city leaders resisted formally using the term despite pressure from local immigration groups.

Wesson and Cedillo said they’re acting because of the Trump administration’s announcement this week that it would end a program that shields young immigrants without legal status from deportation unless Congress acts.

Wesson said the proposal would formally call Los Angeles a city of sanctuary or a sanctuary city. A discussion on which phrase to use will take place at Friday’s meeting, he said.

We’ll find out which term is preferable, Wesson said Thursday. Is it ‘city of sanctuary,’ which is what I personally like? But I don’t know. I haven’t had a conversation with the other members.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, a forceful immigrant rights advocate in Los Angeles, has nonetheless resisted using the phrase sanctuary city because he says it doesn’t accurately describe the city’s policies.

Wesson said he hasn’t talked to the mayor about the term.

There is no neat definition of a sanctuary city, but in general, cities that use the name seek to offer political support or practical protections to people who are in the country illegally.

For some cities, the sanctuary movement consists simply of encouraging people without legal status to get more involved in government.

Other places, including San Francisco, adopt far-reaching policies, such as taking steps to cut ties with federal immigration officials and refusing to fully cooperate with them.

San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, and city officials strengthened the stance in 2013 with its Due Process for All ordinance. The law declared local authorities could not hold immigrants for immigration officials if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges.

Speaking at a Thursday hearing on immigration issues, Cedillo said Los Angeles was moving forward with stronger protections because of Trump’s actions this week.

Clearly, the assault on immigrants will continue, Cedillo said.

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