By Brian CHERNICK
Glendale City Council emphasized the city’s position on assistance with immigration enforcement on Tuesday through a vote to affirm Police Chief Robert Castro’s statement regarding the detention of individuals based on their immigration status.
Castro stated Glendale “does not have the authority nor the responsibility to incarcerate or detain individuals” based on their immigration status, and reiterated the police department’s dedication and focus on crime prevention and local law enforcement.
The statement, which was previously presented, was in response to community members’ concerns about Glendale’s involvement with immigration detention after a new Executive Order was signed by President Donald Trump in January.
Part of the Executive Order, titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” details the withholding of federal funding to jurisdictions that prohibit law enforcement employees from voluntarily providing information to federal agencies, which would be a violation of federal law.
City Attorney Michael Garcia and Deputy Chief Carl Povilaitis assured Mayor Paula Devine that affirming such statements by Castro, and essentially making a policy statement, would not put the city in violation of the Executive Order.
Currently Glendale has one agreement with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Detention and Removal where the city has agreed to provide detention services for ICE detainees.
The agreement, which was entered into in September 2007, allows the city to charge a rate of $85 per day, per person detained in the Glendale Police Dept. jail. The individuals are not charged with criminal violations, but are held by ICE pending an administrative hearing process for deportation.
In 2015 and 2016 the City of Glendale received $1,190 and $6,035, respectively, for these detention services.
The council discussed rescinding the agreement with ICE but determined that it would not reduce immigration enforcement in Glendale and potentially relocate those detained to cities outside of Glendale and potentially farther away from their families.
In a similar vote, the council passed a resolution opposing discrimination against those in the LGBT community, voicing the city’s support of nondiscrimination policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
The resolution also called upon surrounding neighborhoods and cities to take action ensuring the inclusion of the LGBT community.
The council also continued to remind residents that elections are coming up on April 4. To better accommodate voters, the City of Glendale, for the first time in its history, will open up early weekend voting on April 1 and April 2. Early voting will take place each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Police Community Room located at 131 N. Isabel St. Residents will be allowed to vote and drop off mail-in ballots that they have already filled out.