Two Illegal Immigrants Appointed To City Council Commissions In California

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A California city is in the middle of a heated debate after two undocumented citizens were appointed to a city council's advisory commissions on Aug 3.

Residents of Huntington Park made their way to the city council on Monday to voice their opinions after Julian Zatarain, 21, and Francisco Medina, 29, were hired for separate city commissions.

Francisco Rivera, a Huntington Park resident for over three decades, does not agree with the council's appointments.

"Howe can we be a great nation when we reward people that come to this national illegally?" Rivera said before the council, according to Breitbart News. "There's a difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal immigrant."

He added: "Not every immigrant that is here, is here illegally and that's the difference. There's a right way to do things and a wrong way. It's not fair for guys like me."

Chanell Temple, who is part of the group Blacks for Equal Rights, made her way to the podium to denounce a comparison previously made between black slaves and undocumented immigrants.

"Black slaves did not break into this country, okay? They were brought here against their will," Temple said. "Also, black slaves are not immigrants. Immigrants are people with a choice, they come here by choice. Black slaves didn't have choice."

Zatarain, who is now a member of the parks commission, entered the United States from Mexico when he was a 13 to live with his mother. Medina was appointed to the health and education commission.

"I want to do something better for my city, and that I want to represent everyone, including the undocumented community," Zatarain told CBS News.

Zatarain disclosed what his undocumented status means in relation to his new appointment.

"The fact that I'm here illegally, I understand that, but it's a reality that we have to deal with. I want people to understand that we come here wanting a better future and once we're here we love this country," he said. "The only thing we want is to make this country proud of having us here."

Huntington Park Mayor Karina Macias said the positions became open to undocumented immigrants partly because a low number of legal residents were applying.

Because federal law prohibits the two new commissioners from receiving pay, they will serve as unpaid volunteers.

Sources: Breitbart News (2)CBS News

Photo Credit: Huntington Park City Council, CBS News