The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the creation of an Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs that would serve as a clearinghouse to refer refugees and immigrants to various services.

Board Vice Chairman Andrew Do and Supervisor Doug Chaffee proposed the new office.

“This office would establish services to help our immigrant population centralize services in one location,” Chaffee said.

A state proposal called the “Immigrant Rights Act” was introduced on Monday by Congressman Miguel Santiago, Los Angeles attorney George Gascón and Supervisor Hilda Solis, along with representatives of immigrant groups.

Its goal is to be a “one-stop shop” that would direct refugees and immigrants to services already established and available through various other agencies and nonprofits, Chaffee said.

Chaffee noted that with an increase in the number of refugees from Afghanistan as the United States ended its war there, the country now faces refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

But, Chaffee noted, immigrants and refugees in the United States come from many parts of the world, from Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

“It’s not unusual,” Chaffee said of setting up the new office. “We created other offices such as the Office of Independent Review…the Office of Suicide Prevention.”

Many immigrants and refugees struggle with a new language in a foreign place and often arrive “essentially homeless,” Chaffee said.

“They need food, shelter, transport, education, medical services and work. Due to communication gaps, many refugees and immigrants struggle to find the help they need.”

People looking to help loved ones apply for U.S. residency should consider some changes in economic requirements.

The new office “will encourage maximum coordination between agencies, many of which do their own fundraising and provide services at no cost to the government,” Chaffee said.

“There are no services such as immigrant services” with the new office, Do pointed out.

“What we’re talking about is coordinating many services provided by different departments,” Do said.

One in three Los Angeles County residents is an immigrant, which is why it’s so important for them to know that, with or without papers, they are a crucial part of this society and have rights and benefits. at their disposal. Telemundo 52 Responde explains how to access these resources.

Do said the county chief executive’s office and care coordination providers would oversee the office “would be the most effective service delivery.”

He noted that when the United States withdrew the military from Afghanistan, “within a very short time, the Health and Human Services Agency, in conjunction with this council, suspended its services within days. “.

Supervisor Katrina Foley said she was impressed by the testimonies of immigrants and refugees that were shared with council members at their meeting on Tuesday.

Expert immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto explains what factors could cause someone to lose their green card or permanent residency in the United States.

“Empowerment stories of finding success have a lot of impact for me,” Foley said.

Foley noted that his district has approximately “246 people that we currently serve in the (county).” There are host families and immigrants in many towns in the south of the county, such as Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Ladera Ranch, Foley. saying.

Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento pointed out that he himself was an immigrant.

The week of March 6 is dedicated to the consumer, and the California Bar Association would like to remind all Spanish speakers that they have a dedicated person to help them free of charge throughout the year.

“Our family came here to Orange County in 1965 when I was one year old,” he said. “I’m encouraged that the office is at a standstill, but wonder if this is the best way to do it.”

Sarmiento said he would prefer the new office to have more independence and also favored a review of the office to make sure it works.

“We have other freelance offices that I don’t see generating a lot of work and there’s not a lot of accountability,” Sarmiento said.

The expert immigration attorney explains what people with permanent residence in the United States should do who, for whatever reason, need to change their first or last name.

“To the extent that we can measure the success of the services provided here, I would recommend it. … It should come back to us in six months to assess and see what the direction is and if it is effective.”

Chaffee offered $500,000 in his office’s discretionary funds as seed capital for the new office.

Supervisory board chairman Don Wagner said he appreciated Chaffee for offering the funds.

“The cost raises some issues…so I appreciate the discretionary funds to cover the cost,” Wagner said. “I’m sure the CEO’s office can find an office that does what’s requested and we’ll have the opportunity to bring it back and have a look.”

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