LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles on Tuesday approved using a $10 million fund to provide legal help to children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The City Council and county Board of Supervisors voted to expand the LA Justice Fund, created last year to help immigrants without violent pasts who are facing deportation.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Supervisor Hilda Solis announced creation of the fund in 2016 ahead of an anticipated immigration crackdown by President Donald Trump.
Garcetti said in a news release Tuesday that “no child should endure the trauma of being separated from their parents or the terror of not knowing if they will ever see their families again.”
“ ... We must do everything possible to reunify these families now,” Garcetti said. “Los Angeles is answering cruelty with compassion — by giving hope and assistance to people in desperate need.”
Solis said the county “will always stand with immigrants and asylum seekers.”
“No one in this country, let alone a small child, should be forced to defend themselves in court alone,” she said in a news release.
She said the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement estimates more than 100 children are in the area after being separated from their parents.
More than 2,000 children have been taken from their families at the border in recent weeks and scattered in different states under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which criminally prosecutes adults caught crossing the border illegally. But amid an international outcry, Trump issued an executive order last week to stop the separation of immigrant families at the border.