LA County leaders offer “oasis of support” to immigrants in the Trump era

Amid the ongoing national conflict regarding immigration policy, Los Angeles County has vowed to protect immigrants rights by expanding legal resources, providing medical care and maintaining access to other public assistance programs for undocumented immigrants.

“We can’t afford to sit back. We have to stand up and speak,” LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis said at a media roundtable in downtown LA on Friday, Jan. 18.

Speaking to various ethnic news media, local leaders affirmed L.A. county’s role as an “oasis of support” for all residents regardless of citizenship status while calling out the Trump administration for its proposals to “strip immigrants” of their rights.

Anyone who lives in L.A. surely knows the region’s rich immigrant communities and their histories.

Rigo Reyes, executive director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, highlighted the scope of the issue in a county as large and as diverse as LA County. The county has a higher population than that of 42 states and 60 percent of residents of all children have at least one parent who immigrated to the U.S.

Immigrants also make up 42 percent of the county’s workforce, a figure that Reyes highlighted to show the clear influence of immigrants from all corners of the world.

Of the nearly 3.5 million immigrants living in LA County today, Filipino immigrants encompass a sizeable community; the Greater LA area has the largest concentration of Filipino immigrants in the world with more than 600,000 Pinoy immigrants, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

And with the overall Asian American population swelling across the country, the Filipino immigrant population will continue to grow in the next few decades.

“It behooves us to make sure to promote the success of immigrants,” Reyes said, adding that the county’s primary goal for immigrant affairs is to guarantee services “from womb to tomb.”

Solis emphasized the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that granted benefits — such as work authorization and protection from deportation — to eligible undocumented youth who arrived in the United States as children.

“I, too, am a daughter of immigrants,” Solis said, citing that her parents “sought opportunities going through discrimination” not unlike many immigrant families struggling to make it in America today.

Solis said that the board of supervisors voted on 34 motions that would protect immigrants’ rights. It also established a Legal Justice fund that would provide legal counsel and representation for immigrants in court; so far, the fund has accumulated $5 million from the county and City of LA, and it is seeking another $5 million from foundations and private donors.

Roundtable panelists also clarified the status of the Public Charge policy that the Trump administration proposed in October 2018, saying that, if put into effect, it would not be “retroactive” and that eligible undocumented immigrants should still make use of the county’s public services, like Medi-Cal, Section 8 housing, food stamps and other assistance programs.

“Our message is that nothing has changed,” said Roxana Molina, chief of the county’s Department of Public Social Services. “If you are in need of cash assistance [or] medical assistance, you have the ability to get these services.”

In reference to the continuing government shutdown, Molina also advised immigrants who receive CalFresh benefits (food stamps) to “budget their benefits wisely.”

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

1 Comment
  1. The illegal immigrant issue is a mess – has been for decades long before Trump was born, the lack of responsible Border
    security and the investment of its infrastructure along with the failure /reluctance of this Nation to enforce its immigration laws
    has put the US in the state its in – Millions of people that entered the Country illegally with or without children, and they vary from Professional welfare recipients to prosperous individuals with educations funded by the Taxpayer, successful businesses in some cases funded by public funds or private grants (some corporate entities that write off contributions to these ” endeavors ” on their Tax liabilities) and children that get an education in some if not most cases with monies earmarked for students whom are legally in this country ( Natural or legally immigrated ) , and now you have Government ( local – national ) providing” Havens ” for the ‘ undocumented ‘ ( illegal aliens / immigrants ) at taxpayer expense , this is how/ why you have a President Trump. I am not pleased with the way the President is dealing with this and other issues but reality is that – reality. Mr. President – if you got Mexico to pay for the wall in your new trade agreement like you said, start building – get innocent GOV. workers back to work for us and their families and holding up the Nations interest – if not, declare your ‘ National emergency and start building – consider what we did in California years back and initiate a ‘ Proposition 187 ‘ style mandate that will solve your existing illegal immigration problem – take the incentive away – and hope the Supreme Court does not get in the way, ( its a conservative court now you shouldn’t have any issues there ) and get on with the real issues of this nation before your grandstanding and tom foolery either get you impeached or we end up in a Depression . there you have it .

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