LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California applauds the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for its vote today to increase the number of immigration experts on the L.A. County Public Defender's Office staff from two to 10. The drastic need for increasing the office’s experts in this field — among the most complex in U.S. laws — was the subject of an ACLU SoCal advocacy report, "Defend L.A.," issued earlier this year. The report called for there to be at least 15 additional immigration experts, eventually, on the office’s immigration unit to advise its more than 700 attorneys.

Please attribute the following statement to Andrés Dae Keun Kwon, an attorney and Equal Justice Works Emerson fellow with the ACLU SoCal:

"The Public Defender’s Office has been woefully under-resourced to provide noncitizen clients with quality, legally-required representation. Without expert support to deal with the incredibly complex immigration laws, a public defender could inadvertently put a noncitizen client in danger of deportation, even for a minor, misdemeanor offense. We thank the Board of Supervisors — especially at a time when the federal government is relentlessly attacking our immigrant families and communities — for fully meeting the Public Defender’s Office’s request for immigration experts in this year’s budget."