Two undocumented immigrants were appointed to city government positions in Huntington Park, California this week.
This is the first time a city in California has allowed undocumented immigrants to fulfill such roles.
Francisco Medina was appointed to lead the city’s parks and recreation commission and Julian Zatarian was appointed to lead the health and education commission. Both men were born in Mexico and are not covered under President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
According to Huntington Park’s city government website, Medina will advise the city council on the acquisition, use, maintenance and operation of the city’s parks, playgrounds and other public recreational facilities.
He will also be responsible for maintaining a planned program of public recreation for the residents.
Zatarian will create awareness, determine needs and attempt to implement plans for improved health and education matters.
“If we want to share the same vision of Huntington Park, we want to bring everyone to the table,” said City Councilman Jhonny Pineda who appointed the young men. “These are well-qualified kids. They have been giving a lot without expecting anything in return.”
Commissioners are usually paid a $75 monthly stipend, but due to Medina and Zatarian’s legal status they will be unpaid.
The city appointments were cleared from a legal standpoint as the city attorney confirmed that commissioners don’t have to be registered voters or documented citizens.
Several people have expressed concerns about the legal status of Medina and Zatarian, saying that it takes the jobs away from better qualified American citizens.
The city’s mayor, Karina Macias responded to the negative backlash, “They have every right to be at that table because they are part of our community, and I’ll leave it at that,” she said.
People on Twitter seem to still believe there is some violation of the law at hand by appointing Medina and Zatarian, despite the city attorney's approval.
I wonder...is the real issue behind the uproar simply the fact that these men are undocumented or is it that they are undocumented and from Mexico?
I'm an American. I'd like to apply for a commissioner appointment (Huntington Park, CA). If I don't get it, I'm suing. #HuntingtonPark— M_Shier (@m_shier) August 4, 2015
It might be faster to identify all the laws that have not been broken since #HuntingtonPark has added to the long list of ones that are.— Svenix Yngle_DT03 (@SvenixYngle) August 4, 2015