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L.A. Officials Wary of Adding Money to Legal Defense Fund for Migrants and Refugees

Los Angeles City Hall is seen in this file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Los Angeles City Hall is seen in this file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Activists and attorneys urged Los Angeles city officials Thursday to renew funding for a legal defense program for migrants.

The L.A. Justice Fund, a city- and county-backed program that was launched after President Trump took office, pays for attorneys for individuals and families who are detained or at risk for deportation.

Los Angeles had set aside $2 million and the county committed $3 million for the fund in 2017, to be spent over several years, and private philanthropic groups also gave money. But budget leaders have declined to put new money toward it.

Overall, the fund has granted $7.4 million to help with legal representation and counsel, according to the website of the California Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization that disburses the money. In the year since the program launched, 19 people had been released from custody and 223 cases were handled, the foundation said in September.

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