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LA County leaders limit travel to anti-DACA states

Faced with growing uncertainty and fear among immigrants across their districts, Los Angeles County Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to defend an Obama-era policy that protected undocumented children from being deported, but disagreed on how their Board should press the federal government to preserve it.

The board’s unanimous vote on parts of a motion introduced last week included an amendment co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl that makes immigration one of the county’s key priorities alongside, homelessness, child protection, healthcare, justice reform and environmental issues.

Several people from local organizations and business groups, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Airbnb, spoke in favor of the motion during a nearly two hour public comment period.

But the original motion, authored by supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, included a key element that restricts Los Angeles County employees from traveling to nine states that oppose the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA, which President Trump plans to end in six months, unless Congress takes action.

The board chose to vote on that item separately. The result was a 3 to 1 vote, which meant it passed, but Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone no-vote while Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstained without explanation.

The county’s travel restriction would be in place for a year and only affects employees conducting county business. Solis amended her motion to exclude the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from the restriction as well as county employees responding to emergency situations in those states.

Barger, the only Republican on the Board, said she supported DACA, but noted that former President Obama stressed that DACA was not law. She also said the Board had a responsibility to press members of U.S. Congress to work harder on immigration reform.

“We need to do an inclusive immigration reform,” Barger said before voting. “We should be front and center. We need to be at the table and we need to push this. All we’ve done is keep these young people in limbo. Unfortunately now, it’s what I call tough love. The President has said (to Congress) you have 6 months. If Congress doesn’t act in six months, shame on them.”

The motion was introduced last week just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA and said all new applications for the program are being halted.

The program will end in six months if Congress does not take action. Solis and Hahn also ask their colleagues to agree to send a five-signature letter to President Trump and Congress demanding a legislative solution to DACA.

Barger also cast a no-vote on that element, once again saying that the Board needed to take a more active approach.

About 800,000 young people across the nation are recipients of DACA. They are those who were brought to the United States as children by parents who had no documents. More than 200,000 reside in California, with most in Los Angeles County.

The Board also agreed that the County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs expand its outreach to encourage DACA recipients to ask about any assistance they may need. Earlier this year, the county agreed to set aside $3 million as part of a $10 million LA Justice Fund, first proposed in December by Los Angeles city and county officials in response to President Donald Trump’s hard stance on immigrants in the country illegally.

After the vote on the motion Tuesday, Solis said the county would continue to do all it could to encourage a solution to allow DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship.

“Today’s actions signify the County’s ongoing commitment to all immigrant communities and our clear opposition to this Administration’s attacks on our vulnerable population,” Solis said.

Hahn, who has a young DACA recipient on her staff, said he and others like him “are fundamental to our families, to our communities, and to our economy.”

“While it is up to Congress to ultimately pass legislation to protect Dreamers, here in LA County we need to do everything we can to be there for these young people,” she added. “We will have their back.”

Meanwhile, Ridley-Thomas introduced a motion Tuesday that asked Los Angeles County’s legal counsel to file amicus briefs in support of California Attorney General Xavier Baccera’s recent litigation against the Trump Administration over its decision to end DACA.

The board approved it 4 to 1, with Barger casting the no vote.

source: daily news

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