Following the election of Donald Trump and his barrage of executive orders potentially affecting the 3.5 million immigrants in the County of Los Angeles, the Board of Supervisors has passed 11 motions to try and protect our immigrant population.
This Tuesday the Board passed the two most recent, co-authored by Supervisor Solis and myself. The first ensures robust and diverse participation in the County’s Immigrant Protection and Advancement Taskforce. The second calls for the creation of a countywide “sensitive locations” policy.
ICE’s recent activity has frightened a great many people, and has had the troubling effect of discouraging them and their families from accessing vital public services. The motions were designed to let our families know that we will do our best to keep them safe when they are at “sensitive locations,” i.e., attending school, seeking medical attention, going to court or seeking county services. This County provides vital public services and every eligible person should feel safe accessing them.
The vote was delayed on a third motion regarding the LA Justice Fund, a $10-million funding partnership between the County, the City of Los Angeles, and several local foundations, to provide legal defense to individuals at risk of deportation.
The delay to this motion was driven in part by my concern that the language of the motion possibly protects only people who have been “detained” as the law defines it, and not those who have been picked up by ICE but have not technically been detained. In addition, although federal law allows no defense against deportation of individuals convicted of certain crimes, I am concerned that those picked up by ICE who are threatened with deportation and who have been convicted of a crime covered by that federal law at least have the legal defense to ensure that he/she is in fact the person who was convicted of the crimes and that there was such a conviction. The County has no legal means to prevent these individuals from being deported, but we can ensure that no mistakes are made in identifying those individuals.