Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday his office stands ready to help Angelenos navigate President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, which is designed to protect millions of people living in the country illegally from deportation.

“Common sense immigration reforms will strengthen and stabilize L.A. families and will add millions to our economy,” Garcetti said.

Obama delivered a nationwide address on the topic at the White House, and is scheduled to rally support for his order at a Friday morning event in Las Vegas.

Garcetti said his office has been helping immigrants over the last year and “we have laid the groundwork to swing into action after the president’s announcement.”

The assistance for Angelenos will come from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, which Garcetti said was formed “to not just advocate for reform, but to help L.A. residents navigate complex federal procedures so that those reforms have a real impact on their lives.”

The Office of Immigrant Affairs has been helping young people with their applications for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which applies to people brought to the country illegally while they were children, according to the mayor’s office.

The office also has assisted Angelenos in applying for driver’s licenses after a newly passed law made them legal to obtain for immigrants in the country without legal status.

Linda Lopez, who leads the mayor’s immigrant affairs office, is in “close contact” with the federal government officials, the mayor’s staff said.

The office’s “mission” is to help immigrants in Los Angeles get through “federal red tape that, when cleared, can unite families and boost our economy.”

“We will continue to bring together city departments, other government entities and community groups to ensure L.A.’s immigrants are at the front of the line when it comes to new immigration reforms,” she said.

Lopez also warned that “people try and take advantage of immigrant communities, especially when there are new immigration reforms that are hard to understand.”

“Be careful when you hand over money to people promising citizenship,” she said.

Lopez today met with representatives from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and other groups advocating for immigrants, including Accelerate Change, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — LA, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Korean Resource Center, Thai Community Development Center and the Pilipino Workers Center.

Also in the meeting were representatives of Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Mexican consulate and the USC Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.

Representatives from the offices of Reps. Adam Schiff, Karen Bass, Linda Sanchez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Tony Cardenas and Xavier Becerra attended the meeting.

City News Service

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