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New step toward protecting immigrants from harassment

Immigrants (263785)

Citing hesitancy among some immigrant families to seek out public services due to fear of deportation or arrest, Los Angeles County announced a partnership this week with an immigrant-rights organization to train “community navigators’’ to connect such families with available resources.

“Years of surviving and fighting immigrant-bashing, as well as multiple deportations, have fostered understandable fear among our immigrant neighbors, with the result that one in four are reluctant to apply for services to which they are entitled,’’ county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said.

The partnership between the county Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) will train and deploy a group of community navigators, or outreach workers, with the goal of educating immigrant families about public resources available to them.

“We are so pleased to partner with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs office in order to better assist immigrant families access the services and programs available to them,’’ CHIRLA Executive  Director Angelica Salas said. “At a time when so many people feel forgotten and alone, our navigators will bring hope and guidance thanks to this well-thought and proactive initiative.’’

Blue Shield of California Foundation helped fund the Community Navigators program. Information on the program is available at

“Available programs are there to provide help, but only if people feel safe and secure enough to access them. This initiative should help immigrants bridge that gap and get the boost they need,’’ said Supervisor Janice Hahn.