Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis will seek the support of her colleagues Tuesday to protect county residents from changes in federal immigration policy in light of President-elect Donald Trump’s illegal immigration statements.
Solis told City News Service that she wants to show county residents “that we are standing with them and that we will do what we can to provide security and safety.”
Her office has been getting lots of calls from constituents in reaction to many of Trump’s statements about illegal immigration.
“In the last two, three weeks people have been very disturbed, very distraught, in particular our most vulnerable, our children,” Solis said. “Our young children who are thinking, `Mom, are you going to get deported because you’re not here legally and I was born here? What’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to us?”‘
Solis will ask that county staffers analyze all services provided to immigrants and how changes in federal funding could impact those programs. She’d also like to consider a permanent Office of Immigrant Affairs and wants to explore the county’s authority to prevent federal immigration enforcement at courts, schools and hospitals.
“I would hate to see us claw back some of the reforms that we made with law enforcement as a result of getting rid of 287g (an agreement that had sheriff’s deputies enforcing immigration law) and also providing more of a buffer between ICE agents and their ability to come into our jails,” Solis told CNS.
The supervisor said all immigrant communities were at risk given Trump’s incendiary language on the campaign trail.
“I really do want to underscore that it isn’t just Spanish-speaking immigrants that are under attack,” Solis said. “It’s people that may be out of status, say they came here as a student from Taiwan or China or Italy or Canada and they overstayed their visa. They too can be impacted, so it’s about getting all of our communities together.”
She noted that immigrant families receive treatment in county emergency rooms and health clinics, where documentation is not checked, wondering aloud what would happen if federal regulations forced accident victims to be turned away.
Even free lunch programs for schoolchildren and seniors could be at risk if verification of legal residency were to be required, Solis said.
Solis voiced particular concern about young adults protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, arguing that a rollback of the program could have profound economic effects. Under DACA, children brought to the United States before the age of 16 are able to apply for work permits and live without the threat of deportation.
The Center for American Progress estimated that deporting DACA workers could create a $433.4 billion loss in national gross domestic product over a decade.
“I hope that President-elect Trump, as a businessman, will understand the economic impacts that this would have on our factories, on our manufacturing, on our current jobs situation,” Solis said, “not to mention agribusiness.”
President Barack Obama took executive action to expand DACA and implement a similar program for parents, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Those moves have been blocked by lawsuits that went as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, where a 4-4 vote in June sent the matter back to the lower court. Trump has promised to terminate both programs.
The president-elect once threatened widespread deportation but later seemed to soften his tone, saying in a “60 Minutes” interview that he would focus on roughly 2 to 3 million illegal immigrants in the United States with criminal records.
Trump’s “10 Point Plan to Put America First,” laid out on his campaign website under the heading “Immigration,” begins with “an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border, on day one,” promises to “move criminal aliens out day one” and calls to “end sanctuary cities” and triple the number of federal immigration agents.
Solis said she wanted the county to be prepared for the worst possible situation, but admitted that no one seems to know exactly with the new administration will do.
“That’s why we’re asking for action in 45 days so that we can be prepared by the time this president gets seated,” she said.
–City News Service
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