The Los Angeles Justice Fund provided direct legal representation to at least 291 immigrants facing deportation proceedings and gave more than 1,000 legal consultations through the end of last year, a representative with the fund told a City Council committee Thursday.
Rosie Arroyo, a senior program officer with California Community Foundation, told the Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights and Equity Committee that nine out of every 10 people that have been represented by the fund have identified vulnerabilities, including being victims of crime, domestic violence, human trafficking and homelessness.
About 25 percent of the clients have filed applications for asylum, new visas and other protection claims, and the clients also have about a total of 75 children under the age of 18, with the vast majority of them U.S. citizens, she added.
The fund is a public-private partnership of the city and Los Angeles County, the Weingart Foundation and California Community Foundation. It was announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti and other government officials in December 2016 in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s election and his promise to increase deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.
The city pledged $2 million to the fund, with the county pledging $3 million and the rest coming from philanthropic organizations. The fund awarded about $7.4 million in two-year grants to 17 nonprofits in November 2017.
Councilman Gil Cedillo said he hoped the state would kick in some money for the fund, and has previously expressed hope that the fund could raise $45 million to have a wider reach.
“The state has an incredible surplus in its budget right now. It’s led by Democratic leadership and a state senator from this area has a long history of advocating and defending immigrants, yet we have no support from the state,” Cedillo said.