Citizenship Requirement Will Be Waived For Many L.A. County Government Jobs

U.S. citizenship will no longer be a requirement for many Los Angeles County government jobs, including department heads.

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion allowing the county, with a few exceptions, to hire noncitizens to lead county agencies — excluding the chief probation officer — and for any other county jobs where state or federal law doesn’t mandate citizenship.

Immigrants who lack legal status remain ineligible to work for the county.

Tuesday’s motion, by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, extends eligibility for county jobs to lawful permanent residents and those with work permits.

The motion directs staff to remove citizenship as a requirement for county positions, unless otherwise mandated by state or federal law.

Department heads will be allowed to appoint immigrants without citizenship as their deputies when not barred by state or federal law.

“By removing citizenship requirements, the county will gain access to a larger pool of qualified applicants with varied life experiences that can help enhance current services,” Solis, the board chair, said in a statement. “This decision is rooted in a larger vision to bring diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of everything that we do at the county.”

Solis had hoped the county could waive citizenship requirements for disaster service workers, but state law governs those positions and excludes lawfully employed immigrants.

Immigrants make up 35% of the population in L.A. County. With about 110,000 employees, the county government is one of the largest employers in the region.

Some details of the county’s plan weren’t made public. The county chief executive office and Solis’ and Kuehl’s offices declined to share a June report with The Times, stating it was protected by attorney-client privilege because it was drafted by county attorneys.

By Andrea Castillo and Jaclyn Cosgrove for LOS ANGELES TIMES
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