LA County Will Soon Allow Illegal Immigrants Land Government Jobs

Los Angeles County no longer requires US citizenship for government jobs after the LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week – with no discussion – to allow the motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Sheila Kuehl.

That means that even illegal immigrants can land a government job in the county except for positions where US citizenship is required by state and federal law, like the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or peace officers the county hires.

As of 2018, an estimated 880,000 non-citizens made Los Angeles County their home, according to Solis, whose motion ensures that applicants for employment are fairly and equitably considered, without regard to national origin, citizenship, or other non-merit factors that are not substantially related to the successful performance of the duties of the position.

The Office of the County Counsel and the Department of Human Resources confirmed last year the citizenship requirement for workers could be waived if the state or federal law did not explicitly impose a requirement.  

They responded to the Board of Supervisors’ request for an analysis of whether its is legal to scrap citizenship requirements for board-appointed county officers or department heads.

Los Angeles County Public Defender Ricardo García noted that barriers to employment based on cultural, racial, ethnic, or religious characteristics are contrary to their core values and that Solis’ motion will give his office access to the most qualified applicants for employment, irrespective of their citizenship status and will promote equity in hiring.

LA County Public Defender’s Office had so far been forced to disqualify from the application process non-citizens – who are otherwise allowed to practice law in California – because of the citizenship requirement.

Garcia stressed that the new policy will allow them bring in workers who can speak multiple languages that can help them connect with vulnerable communities and to establish new connections to critical services.

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