Street vendors in Los Angeles will no longer be slapped with a misdemeanor charge for selling food or goods. The City Council voted on Tuesday to draft a law that would decriminalize the act. Several council members say it is in response to last week’s executive order by President Donald Trump, which targets undocumented immigrants who have committed or who are believed to have committed a crime.
Councilman José Huízar –whose district includes Boyle Heights– told the Los Angeles Times that immigrants will not have to “work in the shadows,” and that the city will not abide by Trump’s vilification of immigrants.
The decriminalization takes effect immediately but the process of getting permits out to vendors could take months. The Times writes that city staff still has to work out details on those permits and that in the meantime vendors may still face citations for violating the municipal code.
Advocates for legalized street vending argue that sidewalk side vending would help the unemployment rate and would provide tax revenue for the city. Critics of legalizing street vending want brick-and-mortar businesses to have more influence on the amount of carts that can be on their block and are concerned about who would enforce permitted street vending, how much that would cost, and who would pay for it.