New restrictions that limit how Los Angeles city workers can assist with immigration enforcement do not violate federal rules, City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a report for city lawmakers this week.
The question is especially crucial as President Trump seeks to strip funds from “sanctuary” cities that refuse to cooperate fully with immigration agents. L.A. has joined a legal brief arguing that the executive order, now put on hold by a federal judge, is unconstitutional.
There is no official definition of a sanctuary city — and Los Angeles has not officially declared itself one.
But L.A. leaders have sought to limit city assistance to federal immigration agents: Earlier this year, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive that prohibits city employees from gathering information about citizenship or immigration status unless it is legally required or mandated by policy.
Feuer also issued guidelines to city departments this week saying that L.A. does not have to allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to enter into any city facilities that are not open to the general public — such as areas restricted to city employees — unless there is a warrant or court order.
Federal immigration agents can, however, access any city facilities that are open to the general public to question people or arrest them, the guidelines state. Under the guidelines, city employees are not supposed to interfere, but are expected to document what happens and tell their supervisors.
Feuer maintains that none of those rules violate a key federal government code — Section 1373 — that involves immigration enforcement. Under that rule, local governments cannot bar their employees from providing immigration agents with requested information about citizenship and immigration status.
He said that although Garcetti imposed restrictions on when employees can gather that kind of information, the executive directive does not…