Is there really any point to go through the work and expense to become an American citizen anymore?
Huntington Park may become the first city in California to appoint two undocumented immigrants as commissioners on city advisory boards, a lawmaker confirms.
City Councilman Jhonny Pineda has picked Francisco Medina to join the health and education commission and Julian Zatarain for the parks and recreation commission.
The 32-year-old lawmaker told CBSLA online producer Deborah Meron that he promised voters while running for office that he would create more opportunities for undocumented residents.
“Huntington Park is a city of opportunity and a city of hope for all individuals regardless of socioeconomic status, race, creed, or in this case, citizenship,” the councilman said in a statement. “Both these gentlemen have accomplished a great deal for the city. For that, on behalf of the city council, mayor, and our city, I want to say thank you to them both and I am confident they will do an excellent job on their commission posts.”
Pineda says he cleared the appointments with the city attorney, who confirmed there’s nothing that requires a commissioner to be a registered voter, a documented citizen or even a resident, which technically means someone here without legal residency can serve.
Appointees first pass a LifeScan background check.
Medina and Zatarain would not be paid for the volunteer positions and would not have a direct hand in constructing policy but would help advise the council on legislation. Other commissioners receive a $75 monthly stipend on months when they hold meetings.
Coming the same year that California allowed residents to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, this move is the latest in an effort to recognize an increasingly sizable demographic in the state.
Pineda says at 13 years old he emigrated alone to the United States. He established legal residency and told Meron he feels blessed to have been able to come here and work. He’s served as a district representative on the California State Senate and legislative assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently is president of the California Latino Leadership Institute, an organization designed for young professionals interested in leadership development and serving their community.
A graduate from Cal State Dominguez Hills with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Chicano studies, Medina interned for then-Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who now serves on the Los Angeles City Council, Pineda says. Medina also organizes immigration forums aimed a helping working-class communities.
Pineda says the decision will be announced at the City Council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday and will become official after being processed by the council.
Via: CBS Los Angeles