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Los Angeles City Planning has released a draft proposal to amend the zoning code to prohibit the operation and construction of private detention centers. If adopted, it would make L.A. the first city in the nation to enact such a ban.
Modeled after Assembly Bill 32, the proposed amendment would establish measures to enforce the prohibition, in addition to restricting any accessory uses or incidental activity related to “community detention facilities for unaccompanied minors” and “private detention centers.”
Over the years, the detention system in the United States has locked up hundreds of thousands of immigrants, often exposing detainees to brutal and inhumane conditions at an exorbitant cost to taxpayers. Many of these detainees are asylum seekers, including victims of violence and human trafficking and unaccompanied minors in search of a better life. The urgency of this issue has been compounded in recent months by COVID-19. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement figures, more than 7,300 detainees have tested positive for the virus, and eight have died from it, as of November.
City Planning held a public hearing to collect public testimony on Nov. 12. The proposed draft will require the final approval of the City Council.
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