mexican american protest
Thousands of demonstrators protest in Los Angeles against anti-immigrant legislation on March 25, 2006. In a new L.A. controversy, local and national observers questioned the wisdom of allowing people in the country without permission to serve in volunteer positions on a small city council. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Los Angeles -- Two immigrants living in the U.S. illegally were appointed as volunteer advisers to commissions of the Huntington Park City Council on Monday and not everyone is happy about it. Francisco Medina will sit on the the health and education commissions, while and Julian Zatarain will serve on the parks and recreation commission, according to a local CBS report . Both men are reportedly active in local city politics and volunteer activities, according to the L.A. Times .

Neither of the men will be paid a stipend for their work, nor have any final say on policy matters, according to city council officials interviewed by local media. Yet despite the lack of pay, critics of the appointments called the positions “jobs” and said that the immigrants should not be allowed to “work” for the city. Locally, some residents complained that Huntington Park was “sending the wrong message.” In a video of the hearing, dissenting residents received applause.

“We’re sending the wrong message: you can be illegal and you can come and work for the city,” a local woman told CBS reporter Kara Finnstrom .

Former councilwoman Linda Caraballo also criticized the decision, both for the council’s choice of candidates and the anticipated political firestorm.

"There are more qualified people," she told the L.A. Times . "How could they be policy advisors if they can't even vote for the council members? This is just going to bring media attention, it's going to create national debate and it is something the city of Huntington Park doesn't need."

Media attention followed. Fox News anchors paired local criticisms with less than factual statements about laws regarding immigrants.

“It seems really weird to me,” said Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on his show Tuesday night, adding “They’re illegal. They’re illegal. And you could be Mother Teresa. But if you are illegal you are illegal, you do not have rights.”

There’s no law in California against it, according to the reports we’ve read. As for other rights, “illegals” do have enjoy relatively equal protections under the constitution, and have repeatedly proved this in in cases related to wages , trial law, etc.

Anonymous bloggers tied the city council appointments to corruption and cartel activity.

“[The region] already known for its Mexican cartel activity and spectacular municipal corruption. It's even worse than that. Huntington Park is 97% Latino, with 50.5% foreign born,” wrote an anonymous contributor to IBD in an editorial entitled Red Flags Of Corruption Over Huntington Park. “Corrupt political machines are making illegals our new rulers, issuing decisions, rules and, potentially, taxes, without concern that they are Mexican nationals.”

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham tweeted out a news article that -- without citing any sources -- claimed that Medina and Zatarain would be paid by the city for their role on the city council.

Zatarain was reportedly brought to the U.S. by his parents at 13 and Medina is also said to be a “Dreamer.” Neither are eligible for Obama’s deferred action programs, according to a local television station.

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