LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to take steps to recruit the relatives and family friends of children whose parents are in ICE custody to act as foster families.
Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the outreach to potential caregivers who could step in for families held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“If a parent is detained by federal immigration agents, L.A. County will do everything in its power to ensure that no child — regardless of immigration status — will be left alone or abandoned,” Solis said. “It is our moral responsibility to take every action possible to protect these defenseless children, many of whom are U.S. citizens.”
Solis estimated that roughly 70% of undocumented Latinos share a home with at least one U.S. citizen, and about one-third live with their U.S.-born children. She urged families to plan ahead and make custody arrangements for their children in the event of stepped-up immigration enforcement.
Immigration status does not prevent someone from acting as a caregiver or “resource family.” Families who foster children are also eligible for financial support to help care for the child.
Bet Tzedek Legal Services, which provides legal help for low-income residents, expressed support for the plan.
“This reflects our Jewish history and traditions, which teaches us to welcome all immigrants as we pursue justice,” said Diego Cartagena, vice president of legal programs for Bet Tzedek. “Supervisor Solis’ motion exemplifies this ideal by helping marshal critical county resources on behalf of immigrant families.”
The board directed the Department of Children and Family Services to work with county lawyers, the Office of Immigrant Affairs and community members to come up with and implement a recruitment plan within a week. A written report on the plan is expected in 30 days.