Two immigrants in U.S. illegally named to Huntington Park city panels

Julián Zatarain and Francisco Medina will not receive a monthly stipend for their work.
Julián Zatarain (right) and Franciso Medina (left). (Photo:
-A +A

Two immigrants in the country illegally have been appointed to commissions in a small city in Los Angeles County with a large population of people from Mexico and Central America, a newspaper reported.

"If we're going to talk about transparency, being open and having a community that's involved, then the conversation also has to include undocumented immigrants," Huntington Park Mayor Karina Macias said. "I'm hoping other cities are looking at what we're doing here."

Julián Zatarain, 21, was sworn in Monday to a position with the parks and recreation commission in the city, the Los Angeles Times said.

The Mexican immigrant, who came to California when he was 13, is a college student who has volunteered for the Red Cross.

Francisco Medina, 29, another immigrant who is not a legal resident, won an appointment to the health and education commission, the Times said.

People who are in this country illegally cannot vote or seek elected office, but officials in Huntington Park said their status should not stop them from helping govern in other ways.

Reaction to the appointments has been decidedly mixed inside and outside Huntington Park.

Robin Hvidston, executive director of We the People Rising, an immigration enforcement group in Claremont, said the appointments take two commission seats from U.S. citizens.

"To appoint commission seats to individuals who are breaking federal laws demonstrates that lack of respect for U.S. law," she said.

State law does not prohibit people who are in the country illegally from serving as appointed commissioners - as long as they're not paid.

Unlike other city commissioners, Zatarain and Medina won't receive a monthly stipend, which generally ranges from US$25 to US$75.


Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal