With nearly 3.5 million residents born outside of the United States, Los Angeles County is home to the largest immigrant population in any region in the nation. Immigrants make up 44 percent of the County’s workforce, run small businesses that generate 40 percent of the County’s self-employed income, and pay billions in federal taxes each year. Despite these contributions, current federal immigration enforcement policies are more aggressive than ever, risking the separation of families and deportation of LA County residents. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to extend the LA Justice Fund, a public-private partnership that provides legal representation to immigrants in deportation proceedings.
“When an individual is detained by federal immigration authorities, they are cruelly separated from their families and their communities and face the harsh possibility of being deported to their country of origin, even though many consider LA County their one and only home,” said Supervisor Solis. “Today, the Board took a significant step to keep families together. Along with our partners, the County has responded to ensure that the LA Justice Fund would help provide legal services to this vulnerable population. LA County will always stand with immigrants and asylum seekers.”
More than a third of the County’s population is made up of immigrants. Nearly 60 percent of children born in the County have at least one immigrant parent, and 44 percent of households are headed by an immigrant. Predictably, immigrants represented by an attorney during proceedings are more than five times more likely to get positive immigration relief than those without an attorney.
“Since its creation, the LA Justice Fund has ensured hundreds of families have legal representation in deportation proceedings,” said Supervisor Hahn. “I wish that we didn’t need the LA Justice Fund, but amid continued attacks on our immigrant communities extending this fund is critical to providing these families basic due process protections while we work to keep these communities whole.”
The LA Justice Fund is a unique collaboration among the County, the City of Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation. After approving a 2017 Board motion authored by Supervisor Solis, the County contributed $3 million to establish this fund. Since then the LA Justice Fund has exceeded initial goals by:
- Conducting 1,730 consultations and referrals;
- Representing 546 individuals, including 181 children, and
- Completing 62 percent of cases with positive outcomes.
Today’s motion extends the LA Justice Fund through fiscal year 2020-21 and sunsets the current pilot program by June 30, 2021. It also directs the County’s Chief Executive Officer to identify gap funding in the supplemental budget to help continue efforts until the second phase of the program is developed, and it instructs the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) to work with a contractor to develop the program’s second phase. Lastly, the Board motion also directs OIA to provide a 180-day report back.
Today’s motion marks the 55th 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 create sensitive locations throughout the County and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.