LOS ANGELES - Standing in solidarity with the Muslim-American community, Los Angeles City leaders on Wednesday held a press conference to show support for communities affected by the President's Executive Order on immigration that declared a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations.
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell organized the event with the Islamic Center of Southern California and the Muslim Public Affairs Council following a weekend of demonstrations at airports across the country, including Los Angeles International Airport. Peaceful protestors gathered outside the International Terminal, voicing concerns over civil rights violations.
“The Muslim ban has resulted in chaos and trauma for affected families,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “Silence equals complicity. We have a moral obligation to be on the front lines to fight against the scapegoating of any targeted group. When we allow any community to be singled out on the basis of fear and paranoia, the civil rights of everyone are compromised.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Controller Ron Galperin, and Councilmember Paul Krekorian also attended the press conference at the Islamic Center, which is located on Vermont Avenue in the 13th District.
"We must always protect our country and our people from harm, and should take every necessary measure to secure the homeland,” said Mayor Garcetti. “But banning people based on religion or country of origin is not only un-American, it is dangerously counter to our national security. There are effective, rational, humane, and constitutional strategies to keep Americans safe — and that is what we expect the President to offer the American people."
"We must stand up for an America that embraces refugees, unites families and respects basic rights," said City Attorney Mike Feuer. "I went to LAX this weekend because those values are in jeopardy; the lives and liberty of real people are under threat. Those challenges haven't gone away in the last couple days. It continues to be up to us to respond to the voices of fear and division by finding the common ground our nation so desperately needs. We must respond by insisting America can be safe and hold true to our most fundamental values at the same time."
“Some in Washington might seek to divide us -- here in Los Angeles, we are all brothers and sisters,” said City Controller Ron Galperin. “We as elected officials have a special obligation to make sure our nation and our communities are welcoming and inclusive. I am the proud son of immigrants -- and the first in my family to be born in this great nation -- the United States of America. It is with solidarity that we send a clear message that Los Angeles is a safe haven for immigrants, a sanctuary for those who seek refuge, of all nationalities and religions.”
"Our message to the federal government is that Los Angeles will stand strong in the face of any attempt to trample on the constitution and the American values we cherish," said Councilmember Krekorian. "We will not stand idly by and let anyone disrespect and dismantle our communities. Our diverse city embodies the ideals and character that the country urgently needs today."
Board members at the Islamic Center say they are hearing from Angelenos who are concerned that families will be separated from family due to the recent action by the President.
“There is danger, but with the leadership of this assembly today, there is hope,” said Salam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council. “We need to preserve our pluralism for true security.”
During the press event, the Islamic Center announced plans for a rally on February 19 that will start at the Islamic Center at 434 S Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90020. The Islamic Center is expected to release more details at a later date.
Shortly after the Presidential election, Councilmember O’Farrell introduced a motion that served as a call to action for legal professionals willing to provide pro bono work on immigration issues in partnership with the City of Los Angeles.