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L.A. County Approves $31-Billion Budget, Adds Funds for 4 Immigration Lawyers

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, shown in 2015, requested funding in next year's budget to supplement and expand the public defender's immigration unit. (Credit: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, shown in 2015, requested funding in next year's budget to supplement and expand the public defender's immigration unit. (Credit: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times)

Disappointing advocates who had called for more attorneys to defend poor immigrants, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously adopted a $31.4-billion budget that funded only four new immigration attorneys in the public defender’s office instead of the desired 15.

The final 2018-19 budget also allocated additional money for new positions in the Departments of Children and Family Services, Health Services and Mental Health, bringing the total number of county employees to 111,392.

Amid President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” border-crossing policy and a general strengthening of federal immigration enforcement, Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose district includes immigrant neighborhoods in the city’s southern and eastern areas, had requested money to fund 15 new immigration attorneys in the public defender’s office over the next two years.

A report published by the American Civil Liberties Union last month found that the office is “woefully under-resourced to handle cases involving non-citizens,” with only two immigration experts in an office of 700 attorneys.

Read the full story on LATimes.com