Breaking the law by being in the country illegally is just fine with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, but cutting hair, serving patrons in a restaurant and many other everyday commercial activities are apparently such egregious offenses that neighbors are urged to report violators to authorities.
To combat the spread of COVID-19, the Democratic mayor closed all “nonessential” businesses in a March 19 “Safer at Home” public order, and he later threatened to take strong action against businesses that don’t comply, including cutting off their power and water.
On Friday, Garcetti tweeted a recorded video statement instructing the public on how to turn in violators of the order and included a handy link to do just that.
“To protect our communities, non-essential businesses must remain closed during our Safer at Home emergency order,” the mayor wrote. “To report non-essential businesses that are operating illegally, visit: https://t.co/bgKX7F8JmF.”
To protect our communities, non-essential businesses must remain closed during our Safer at Home emergency order. To report non-essential businesses that are operating illegally, visit: https://t.co/bgKX7F8JmF. pic.twitter.com/7cyPU9Taof
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) April 17, 2020
In the clip addressing the closure of businesses, Garcetti said that “99.9% have done it” and that the remaining businesses comply after just one visit from the city’s “ambassadors or a phone call,” suggesting that many Los Angeles resources are being used to pressure violators into compliance.
“But those who do not act,” Garcetti warned, “we will take action against them.”
“We initially issue warnings,” he later said, outlining procedures for offenders. “If necessary, we share information on recurring non-compliant businesses with law enforcement and if necessary, take charges against them through our City Attorney’s office.”
These draconian measures undoubtedly require the use of personnel as well as coordination between different organizations and aspects of government, all to punish businesses that are deemed “nonessential” only by virtue of government edict.
This law-and-order approach is in stark contrast with how the mayor has treated the problem of illegal immigrants in his city.
On Feb. 14, Garcetti tweeted a recorded statement on the matter, along with Police Chief Michel Moore, and took great pains to reassure illegal immigrants that the city would not enforce immigration laws.
The tweet of that video had quite a different tone from the mayor’s current warning to COVID-19 business violators.
“Regardless of your immigration status, I want every Angeleno to know your city is on your side,” it said. “Here in Los Angeles, our police department does not coordinate with ICE or participate in immigration enforcement.”
Regardless of your immigration status, I want every Angeleno to know your city is on your side. Here in Los Angeles, our police department does not coordinate with ICE or participate in immigration enforcement.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) February 15, 2020
In the video directed at immigration lawbreakers, Garcetti gave helpful advice on how to evade immigration authorities. He encouraged them to assert their right to remain silent, to not open the door for immigration officials, and to seek legal counsel.
The mayor’s tweet also included a link to a printable set of cards with those rights, which could be handed out as a response to immigration or law enforcement.
“And most importantly, I want you to know you do not need to be afraid,” Garcetti said, offering words of comfort to those in violation of immigration laws.
Moore reiterated the mayor’s message, saying his department would not enforce immigration laws.
The mayor later ended by saying, “We will never let fear and intimidation win the day. We are in this together.”
If only Garcetti were so kind to businesses trying to stay afloat during the coronavirus shutdown.
The mayor’s eagerness to provide aid and comfort to illegal immigrants flouting federal laws leaves no doubt about the agenda-driven double standard.
The businesses in question were not doing anything wrong until the government decided to close them based on the arbitrary criterion of whether they are “essential,” notably still leaving cannabis dispensaries open for business.
Garcetti has the right to make sure folks within his city comply with his executive order, but calling on residents to tattle on each other for continuing to do business while allowing illegal immigrants the city’s official protection from prosecution is absurd and unfair.
It is an example of progressive politics at its worst.
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