The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to consider the county’s authority to limit federal immigration enforcement at schools, health care
facilities, courthouses, and other sensitive locations in the county.
The motion aims to ensure that all LA residents have “unimpeded access” to locations that provide county services.
Supervisors’ Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl’s motion points to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents’ arrest of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez while he was dropping his daughters off at school. Avelica-Gonzalez’s 13-year-old daughter filmed the arrest of a father of four who only had a decade-old DUI, and a 20-year-old conviction regarding a registration sticker on his car.
On March 16, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye’s sent letter blasting the feds for “stalking undocumented immigrants” in California courthouses. In his response, Sessions implied that the state and local jurisdictions’ lack of cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents has forced the feds to seek out and arrest immigrants in safe public places, like courthouses.
“The perception of increased enforcement activities at such locations, even if
unfounded, threatens to chill the access to County offices and agencies on which core
County functions depend,” the motion reads.
The supes delayed a vote on another immigration motion to allocate $1 million for legal representation for immigrants facing deportation who are unable to afford an attorney.
The legal defense fund is a collaborative effort between the city of Los Angeles, LA County, and local non-profits to set aside a total of $10 million for defending undocumented residents.
The motion, by Supes Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, proposes considering giving priority for legal representation to immigrants with “deep community ties” to LA County, including those who have served in our armed forces, victims of crime, and people whose families are US citizens.
The board delayed the vote in order to look more closely at concerns that were raised during the meeting.
The defense fund excludes people who have prior convictions. Many community members and representatives from non-profits argued that everyone deserves access to legal representation.
“This carve-out is unfair and undermines due process, the cornerstone of our justice system,” the ACLU of Southern California said. “It would make for an ineffective and inefficient eligibility system. Los Angeles should endorse universal representation and stand above the president’s misleading and dangerous framing of “good” and “bad” immigrants.”
Another motion, to set up a selection process for membership within the County’s new Immigrant Protection and Advancement Task Force (IPAA). The task force’s goal is to present the board with a comprehensive strategy for protecting and advancing the rights of immigrants by the end of the year. (The supes voted in December to convert the County Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Task Force into the IPAA.)
A stakeholder subcommittee within the task force will be comprised of community stakeholders, including philanthropy and labor groups, academia, local chambers of commerce, immigrant rights organizations, legal organizations, and ethnic media networks.
Each supe will select a single member of the subcommittee. Those five selected will have the power to select up to 6 additional members in order to “achieve sufficiently broad representation of stakeholder groups.
A separate subcommittee will be comprised of representatives from the LA County Sheriff’s Department and other relevant county departments.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger opposed both of the motions that the board passed.
This week’s motions are part of a broader effort on the part of the supervisors to improve protections for undocumented Los Angeles residents.
In January, the supes voted in favor of creating an Office of Immigrant Affairs to aid the 3.5 million immigrants (including hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants) living in LA County.