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Supervisors take their case to Washington, D.C.

Antonovich says he’ll talk to state’s congressional delegates about immigration and health-care refo

Posted: May 5, 2009 10:10 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors won't be found this week in their usual venue. That's because they're meeting with federal officials in Washington, D.C., to address issues such as healthcare reform, Swine Flu, the impact of climate change on Los Angeles County and more.

In addition, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said he'll make a special effort to address the California Congressional delegation on illegal immigration matters affecting the county.

"Illegal immigration continues to have a devastating impact on Los Angeles County taxpayers," Antonovich said. "The total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers exceeds $1 billion a year - not including the millions of dollars for education."

More than $1 billion a year breaks down to $400 million a year for healthcare and $500 million a year in welfare and food stamp allocations, according to a Board of Supervisors press release.

Antonovich discussed some of his suggestions for reform Tuesday with members of the California delegation, according to spokesman Tony Bell.

Among those suggestions was a bonded guest-worker program, "where an immigrant could work in the U.S. and his or her expenses would be paid by the employer or the employee and it wouldn't be up to the county tax payer to foot the bill," Bell said.

Antonovich also advocated a verification system for employers to check job applicants' citizenship.

"It should be as simple as the type you use to scan your Visa or Mastercard," Bell said.

Bell said the bottom line is "the federal government needs to enforce the border and reduce incentives for illegal immigrants to come into the country, especially in times of economic crises where taxpayers are footing the bill in Los Angeles County."

Among the county's other top federal priorities this year are the funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and the continued development of an interoperable communications system that will allow public safety agencies to easily communicate with each other during a local disaster.

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