Los Angeles County is home to one of the most diverse populations in the United States, with 35% of residents being born in another country. As such, the County is making special efforts to inform our diverse communities. In the last two years, the LA Board of Supervisors has approved 35 motions in support of immigrant communities that are under new threats from federal policies.
In an effort to demonstrate the County’s support to these diverse communities and assure residents that County services remain available to them regardless of documentation status, the Board of Supervisors welcomed over two dozen members of the local ethnic and community press to speak with representatives from county departments. The meeting was organized by the Office of Supervisor Kuehl, in partnership with the Office of Supervisor Solis and the CEO’s Office. The message from the event was clear: during a time when there is a lack of trust in government and pervasive fear in immigrant communities, LA County is, and will remain, a committed partner.
Joe Nicchitta, the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs highlighted the county’s work in providing services from the ‘womb to the tomb’, and how it was fighting against policies that disproportionately affect immigrant communities. Similarly, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Director of the Department of Public Health, spoke about the important role of community media organizations in helping to destroy false narratives involving immigrants, and made note of many of the county’s health services that are available for residents regardless of immigration status. These sentiments were shared by Roxana Molina, Chief In-Charge of the Department of Public Social Services, who made clear that despite rhetoric at the federal level, immigrant communities need to know that ‘nothing has changed’ in regards to the services available for them.
Additionally, more than half a dozen representatives of non-profits came to the meeting, including Daniel Sharp from Central Americans Resource Center, Nora E. Phillips from Al Otro Lado Legal Services, and Martha Ruch from Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Ruch thanked the county for its role in providing an ‘antidote’ to the fears experienced by many immigrants, while Jenna Gilbert from Human Rights First noted that the County’s ‘tremendous amount of resources’ helped bring ‘sanity’ to immigrants in the current climate.