L.A County Supervisors Hold Off on Backing Senate Immigration Policy

"I don't think we are yet prepared to support any one proposal over another,'' Supervisor Gloria Molina, who represents Baldwin Park, said during the meeting.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors chose today to stay its hand in supporting the U.S. Senate's proposed immigration policy, waiting for further developments in the debate on reform.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich presented a motion calling for the board's support of the immigration legislation proposed by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators.

"This legislation is a comprehensive approach to immigration reform which includes a guest worker program, greater border security and enhanced coordination of federal and local law enforcement,'' Antonovich said.

His motion called for a five-signature letter in support of the senators' proposal to be sent to the county's congressional delegation.

But Supervisor Gloria Molina and civil rights advocates asked that the discussion be tabled until there is "more meat on the bone of immigration reform,'' in Molina's words.

"I don't think we are yet prepared to support any one proposal over another,'' Molina said. "I was more hopeful that the president was going to announce his own comprehensive reform proposal'' instead of deferring to the Senate.

The director of organizing for the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles, Xiomara Corpeno, said immigration reform would affect "over 2 million children and their families'' in Los Angeles County and asked the board to wait until the dozens of organizations that CHIRLA represents could have more input.

Betty Hung, policy director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center --who noted that the largest group of new immigrants are Asian-- also called for a more "robust dialogue'' that could lead to an "inclusive, humane'' immigration policy.

Supervisor Don Knabe said it was important that the board stay on top of the ongoing debate. He supported Antonovich's request that the county's Washington lobbyists and the CEO's office report back to the board monthly on the progress of immigration legislation.

"We need to be at the table,'' Knabe said.

The board's vote for monthly reports, but no further action, was unanimous.

Molina called the current national focus on reform "an opportunity for many people to come out of the shadows, who have been here for 30 years-plus.''

- City News Service

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