Los Angeles County is home to about 1 in 10 of the nation’s undocumented population, and that means that the immigration reform proposal being debated in Washington could have real fiscal impacts on the County and its services. Last time a pathway to citizenship was approved by the federal government, state and local governments were allocated $4 billion to cover associated costs. This time, no such fund has been established.
Without the promise of federal subsidies, County officials are looking at the potential impact to the County’s bottom line. Although the draft of the proposal bars newly legalized residents from receiving service or federal subsidies for 10 years, it will not prevent these people from turning to local services. Adult education centers, which provide courses in English, would likely see increased traffic despite decreased funding. Basic healthcare could also see an influx of patients. The County already spends about $600 million annually on healthcare for the undocumented population.
State and local leaders from across the country hope that congress appropriates some funds to protect them, even drawing upon the fines, fees, and taxes paid as part of the pathway to citizenship. Currently, however, that money is earmarked to securing the border. Senator Dianne Feinstein broached the issue during the Senate Judiciary Hearing, where she said she would direct her own staff to look into a “state impact assistance” fund.
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.