Watch CBS News

LA Supervisors Want To Waive Citizenship Requirement For County Employees

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Not a citizen? Not a problem for the LA County Board of Supervisors.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wants waive the requirement that county employees be U.S. citizens and has directed its staff on how they can do so without running afoul of state law.

Immigration Reform March Held In Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 24: A composite of numerous flags from across the world is held by immigrant reform supporters as they march on Hollywood Boulevard in support of the legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States June 24, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Fire officials estimated the crowd in attendance was around three thousand people. (Photo by J. Emilio Flores/Getty Images)

Officials say they have an estimated 880,000 non-citizens living in Los Angeles County, running small businesses and paying taxes. But because the of the citizenship requirement to work for the county, for example, the public defender's office cannot hire any of the otherwise qualified non-U.S. citizens who are permitted to practice law in California.

"Barriers to employment based on cultural, racial, ethnic, or religious characteristics are contrary to our core values," LA County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia said in a statement. "This motion, by Supervisors Solis and Kuehl, will promote equity in hiring and give the Public Defender's Office access to the most qualified applicants for employment, irrespective of their citizenship status."

The motion, authored by Chair Hilda Solis and co-authored by Sheila Kuehl, says that non-citizen applicants "often express deep interest for public service and a sincere desire to pursue a career representing indigent LA County residents." These job candidates are in a unique position to relate to and connect with the diverse communities the county serves, the motion states.

"Los Angeles County is a community of immigrants from each corner of the world," Solis said in a statement. "And while our County-government workforce reflects the community it represents, there is room for improvement."

The motion, which was approved by the board Tuesday, directs county counsel to report back in two weeks with an analysis of the board's authority to waive citizenship requirements for county officers or department heads and directs county officers waive citizenship requirements for employees they have or will appoint – unless state law explicitly imposes a citizenship requirement.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.