Up to 50,000 sidewalk vendors regularly line the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Undocumented immigrants, who comprise a large percentage of these vendors, are facing increasingly frequent citing and police enforcement of sidewalk vending laws under President Donald Trump’s recent crackdown.
This affects the ability of those who make a living by street vending to financially support themselves and their families. In the past, enforcement has been inconsistent, enabling many to rely on street vending as their primary source of income.
Last Tuesday, L.A. City Council officials moved to decriminalize street vending in the city, apparently compelled by Trump’s targeting of the undocumented immigrant population. Technically, the vote was merely an authorization for city attorneys to draft laws that officially decriminalize street vending. Before the new law is improved, sidewalk vendors are still technically breaking the law and vulnerable to the enforcement decisions of individual police officers.
Regardless, the undertaking is a crucial step for protection of the sidewalk vendors in Los Angeles, many of whom are undocumented immigrants that may face deportation if they are charged for any criminal offense. Until this law is passed, street vendors may be subject to deportation, whether they are arrested or not.
If it works in L.A., could it work in Philly, too?
Read the full story here (via City Lab)
Header photo by Anton / Unsplash