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San Diego County Board of Supervisors to vote on proposed Immigrant & Refugee Affairs Office

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Posted at 7:46 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 10:46:33-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday is expected to vote on a proposed Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, which is intended to serve as a centralized hub connecting individuals and families to services.

San Diego County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas outlined the details of their proposed Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs on Monday.

"We are creating a framework for our future that ensures San Diego County is welcoming and everyone feels like they belong," Fletcher said. "The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will be a regional asset, proactively engaging with the community to provide information, educate on important topics and connect individuals and families to vital county and community resources.

"The creation of this office will undo some of the harm of former policies by making it crystal clear that immigrants belong, and are a vital component of our region."

According to the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, more than 20% of San Diegans were born in other countries and speak 68 different languages.

"As the first immigrant elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, it is an honor to champion an initiative so personal to me," Vargas said. "To fulfill our vision of creating stronger and healthier communities, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will work for everyone by creating a central hub of services and resources and uplift the positive contributions that our immigrant and refugee communities have on our economy and culture."

The office's role will be to connect community members and stakeholders to services, and when there are gaps, informing the board of the policy changes that need to occur.

It will also partner with the Public Defender's Office of Assigned Counsel to create a link for referrals to the Immigrant Rights Legal Defense Program for detained immigrants facing deportation, and can help connect individuals to trusted legal resources in the community.

The county's chief administrative officer already put $750,000 in her proposed fiscal year 2021-2022 budget for immigrant programs, but this policy is seeking to increase that number to $2 million, and with five full-time employees to support.

Some of the 82 organizations represented in the coalitions that support this policy were present at the news conference and spoke, including: Jewish Family Services of San Diego, MAS PACE, MAAC Project, Border Angels, Karen Organization of San Diego, San Diego Organizing Project, San Diego Rapid Response Network and Invest in San Diego Families.