LA County leaders skip vote on funding legal defense fund for undocumented immigrants

A proposal to transfer $1 million of Los Angeles County money into a legal defense fund to help illegal immigrants and others threatened with deportation was pulled from a vote Tuesday so members of the Board of Supervisors could examine concerns raised within the motion.

The legal defense fund was proposed in December by members of the Los Angeles City Council and the Board of Supervisors in response to President Donald Trump’s pre-election remarks about deporting people who live in the country illegally. Los Angeles city and county leaders unveiled plans to contribute $5 million to the proposed $10 million fund, with local nonprofit organizations providing the rest.

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But questions were raised as to who would benefit from the fund, including people who may have criminal records. Supervisor Hilda Solis, who co-authored the motion with Supervisor Janice Hahn, said before Tuesday’s meeting that the item was sent back until there was more of a consensus among county leaders.

Outside the Hall of Administration, several members of the California Coalition for Universal Representation, which includes members from the American Civil Liberties Union, opposed Solis and Hahn’s motion because they said it does not provide legal support for immigrants with criminal histories. Dozens of people spoke during the board meeting, calling for universal representation.

“The coalition believes that everyone caught up in the deportation system – even those convicted of serious crimes – deserves legal representation,” according to a statement from the group.

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Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who has voted against her colleagues on various immigration proposals that challenge federal law, said that even when the motion is brought back, she would oppose it


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