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Citizenship No Longer Required to Work for L.A. County

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to hire non-citizens, with some exceptions. There were about 880,000 non-citizens living in L.A. County in 2018.

person holds their arms crossed in front of their chest while holding a small American flag
People hold flags during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ administration of the Oath of Allegiance ceremony at the Los Angeles Public Library, Mark Taper Auditorium in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021.
(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
(TNS) — Citizenship will no longer be a requirement for landing a job with Los Angeles County, with some exceptions.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously without discussion this week to allow the county to hire non-citizens, except in positions for which being a U.S. citizen is required by state and/or federal law.

Being a U.S. citizen will remain a requirement of any applicant for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or any peace officers hired by the county.

The adopted board motion says the policy “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 successful performance of the duties of the position.”

On June 22, 2021, the Board of Supervisors asked the Office of the County Counsel and the Department of Human Resources to determine if waiving any citizenship requirement for board-appointed county officers or department heads was legal.

The staff reported that the board can waive citizenship requirements for its workforce unless state or federal law explicitly imposes a requirement.

As of 2018, about 880,000 non-citizens had made L.A. County their home. Supervisor Hilda Solis, in a prepared statement in 2021, said citizenship presented “barriers to County employment” for qualified non-citizen job applicants.

At that time, Solis used the example of trying to fill entry-level deputy public defender positions. Solis cited L.A.’s Public Defender office, which received applications from otherwise qualified non- U.S. citizens who, although permitted to practice law in California, were disqualified from applying for Public Defender jobs.

The new policy is in the county’s best interest, the board motion said, “reducing barriers to employment and broadening the applicant pool.”

The motion also said that ending the citizenship requirement will help bring in workers who may have multiple language skills, “connecting with vulnerable communities and establishing new connections to critical services.”

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