The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on July 26 to allow the county to hire noncitizens, except for the positions where U.S. citizenship is required by state and federal law.
Under the new “inclusive hiring” policy, all departments must waive the citizenship requirement for both current and future county positions. However, applicants for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and peace officers have to be U.C. citizens.
“Los Angeles County is a community of immigrants from each corner of the world,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement. “And while our County-government workforce reflects the community it represents, there is room for improvement.”
Additionally, the board should also ensure that applicants “are fairly and equitably considered, without regard to national origin, citizenship or other non-merit factors that are not substantially related to successful performance of the duties of the position,” according to the motion.
In June 2021, the board approved a motion—introduced by Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl—to direct the County Counsel and the Department of Human Resources to assess if the board has the authority to waive any citizenship requirement for board-appointed county offices.
The department later recommended that the board remove citizenship as a requirement for most positions when citizenship is not mandated by law.
The county is in fierce competition in hiring well-qualified attorneys and waiving the citizenship requirement will change this situation, according to Solis and Kuehl’s motion.
“The County wants to provide culturally competent services and attract high-quality job candidates, but both goals are made more difficult by an out-of-date requirement that only U.S. citizens are eligible for certain classes of County jobs,” Kuehl said in a statement.