Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion to welcome and support refugees who make Los Angeles County their home:
“Refugees flee violence and war to seek safety and protection in other countries like the United States. Refugees leave behind family and friends, and much of what they own, to escape persecution and death threats due to their race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion.
Once here, refugees contribute to our economy and our cultural tapestry. Over the years, LA County has embraced refugees. In 2015, at the height of the Syrian Civil War, this Board of Supervisors supported federal efforts to aid Syrians escaping violence by increasing the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle here.
However, in recent years, this Administration has chipped away at our nation’s responsibility to protect refugees by drastically reducing the number of refugees admitted to this country. In 2017, over 100,000 refugees were allowed to enter the United States. In fiscal year 2020, the federal government set a cap of 18,000 refugees, marking a historic low since this program launched in 1980. Last fiscal year, the cap was 45,000, but only 10,000 refugees actually came to the United States due to barriers imposed by the federal government. An executive order was issued on Sept. 26 that requires local governments to provide written consent to accept refugees in their jurisdictions – imposing yet another roadblock to where refugees can seek safety.
Refugees must be treated with compassion and dignity. This Administration’s use of arbitrary caps and rules to restrict the number of refugees allowed to resettle in this country is immoral. These actions condemn many innocent children and families to senseless suffering.
In September 2017, the Board of Supervisors approved my motion to make immigration our sixth top priority in County governance. Through my motion today, Los Angeles County is reaffirming our values and declaring once again that refugees are welcomed here.”
Since 2016, Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Social Services has seen a 70 percent decrease in the number of refugees participating in the Refugee Employment and Acculturation Services (REAS), a program that helps refugees gain economic self-sufficiency up to 60 months after arriving in the U.S. Today’s Board motion directs pertinent County Departments to develop and launch an educational outreach plan for refugees who are eligible for assistance through REAS. The motion also directs a five-signature letter to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to affirm that LA County will welcome refugees who seek to resettle here until the Board of Supervisors directs otherwise.
Today’s action marks the 49th immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a motion to contribute $3 million to the LA Justice Fund and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.