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Los Angeles County takes bold steps in support of immigrants

Moving across multiple fronts, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to intensify its support for immigrants in the face of federal efforts to roll back protections on vulnerable populations, including young “dreamers” studying and working under the DACA program.

The Board of Supervisors, acting on a motion by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Sheila Kuehl, voted unanimously to make immigration one of the County’s key priorities. It joins other major issues such as homelessness, child protection, healthcare, justice reform and environmental oversight at the top of the action list for the local government serving the nation’s most populous county.

“As the rhetoric and negative action directed toward immigrants increases at the federal level, the County must become increasingly attentive to the crisis impacting more than one million of our residents,” the motion said. Identifying immigration as a priority will make sure the County’s cross-departmental focus on legislation, litigation, resources and services “remains concentrated and consistent.”

Following a motion by Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas, the board voted in closed session to authorize County Counsel to file a friend of the court brief supporting the state of California’s lawsuit challenging federal government actions to rescind DACA. That vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger abstaining.

In public session, the board also approved a motion by Supervisor Solis and Supervisor Janice Hahn to impose a one-year restriction on most official County travel to nine states that threatened legal action to permanently end DACA, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Supervisor Barger voted against the motion, with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas abstaining.

Supervisors unanimously directed the County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to continue its outreach and support for DACA recipients, and to work with the County Counsel to explore immigration relief and residency options for County employees in the DACA program, which the Trump Administration said it will terminate in six months.

The economic and human stakes are high, the motion said.

“Ending DACA and admonishing recipients from the labor force could cost the United States $460.3 billion in GDP and decrease Social Security and Medicare contributions by $24.6 billion over the next decade,” according to the motion. “Every state in the U.S. will feel the economic harms from ending DACA. Los Angeles County, a virtual state in its own right, is especially susceptible to these economic harms and the human costs associated with them…Action by Congress in the next six months is critical to the future of this nation’s DACA recipients and the people of Los Angeles County.”

For additional information on the County’s immigration resources, please visit OIA.lacounty.gov.