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OIA Offers Support to Asylees and Any Others Affected by Data Breach 150 150 dcba

OIA Offers Support to Asylees and Any Others Affected by Data Breach

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), stands ready to assist the asylees directly affected and family members and others who might be indirectly affected by a recent data breach by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, ICE posted to its website the names, birthdates, nationalities and detention locations of more than 6,000 people who are seeking asylum and currently in ICE custody.

This data breach could potentially endanger the safety of the people seeking asylum and their families. In a statement, ICE said they will be notifying the attorneys of the affected asylees or the asylees themselves of this data breach.

Asylees directly affected by this breach, and all immigrants in custody, should have access to reliable legal representation. In any immigration matter, it is important that immigrants receive advice and services only from a licensed attorney or federally accredited representative. Through the RepresentLA Program, OIA can help refer immigrants and their families in Los Angeles County to free or low-cost immigration legal services.

You can reach the Office of Immigrant Affairs by phone at 800-593-8222 or by visiting immigrants.lacounty.gov.

In high-profile cases of this nature, scammers will often to try to take advantage of uncertainty or disinformation to steal money or personal information from concerned people. For example, a scammer might try to reach out to a family member or someone else associated with an affected asylee to offer phony legal assistance. Others may use scare tactics to convince uninvolved immigrants that the data breach was more widespread.

Always work directly with licensed legal representatives and ignore unsolicited offers for assistance.

During any data breach, people directly affected and anyone else whose information might be compromised second-hand should take steps to protect their personal and financial information from possible identity theft. If applicable, review your credit report closely and consider a fraud alert if you believe your information has been stolen.

Contact DCBA at 800-593-8222 or visit dcba.lacounty.gov for more information about reducing the risk of identity theft.

La oficina de los asuntos de inmigrantes del condado de Los Ángeles ofrece apoyo para los asilados y cualquier otros afectados por la filtración de datos  

La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles (OIA) en el Departamento de Asuntos al Consumidor y Negocios (DCBA) están listos para asistir los asilados afectados directamente y sus familiares igual que otros que quizás indirectamente sean afectados por la filtración de datos recientemente por el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de EE. UU. (ICE por sus siglas en inglés). De acuerdo de un reporte del periódico Los Angeles Times, ICE publicó los nombres, fechas de nacimiento, nacionalidades y ubicación de detención de más de 6000 personas en búsqueda de asilo o cuál están bajo custodia de ICE. 

Esta filtración de datos podrá exponer y peligrar la seguridad de los individuales aplicando por asilo y sus familias. ICE aviso que se comunicarán con los abogados de los asilados afectados o los asilados mismos sobre la filtración de datos. 

Asilados afectados directamente por este incumplimiento y todos los inmigrantes en custodia deben de tener representación legal fidedigno. En cualquier asunto de inmigración es importante qué inmigrantes reciban servicios y aviso legal solamente de abogados licenciados o representantes acreditados al nivel federal. A través del programa RepresentLA, la oficina OIA puede ayudar referir inmigrantes y sus familias en el condado de Los Ángeles a servicios legales de inmigración gratis o de bajo costo. 

Se puede comunicar con la oficina de los asuntos de inmigrantes por teléfono al 800-593-8222 o por visitando immigrants.lacounty.gov. 

En casos de alto interés público de este tipo estafadores intentarán de aprovecharse de la incertidumbre o falta de información para robar dinero o información personal de las personas preocupadas. Por ejemplo, un estafador puede comunicarse con un miembro familiar o alguien asociado con un asilado afectado para proveer asistencia fraudulenta. Otros quizás usen tácticas para asustar y convencer a inmigrantes no afectados, que la filtración de datos ha afectado mucha más gente. 

Siempre trabaje directamente con representantes legales licenciados y no le haga caso a ofertas de asistencia que no ha solicitado. 

Durante cualquier filtración de datos los afectados directamente y otros cuya información ha sido comprometida debería tomar pasos para proteger su información personal y financiera de posible robo de identidad. Si le aplica revise su reporte de crédito cuidadosamente y considere una alerta de fraude si cree que sus datos e información han sido robados. 

Comuníquese con DCBA al 800-593-8222 o visite dcba.lacounty.gov para más información para reducir el riesgo del robo de identidad. 

OIA Celebrates National Immigrants Day with Grants to Immigrant-Focused Community-Based Organizations 150 150 dcba

OIA Celebrates National Immigrants Day with Grants to Immigrant-Focused Community-Based Organizations

Ten nonprofits to receive first round of grants to strengthen their capacity to serve the County’s immigrant communities

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), celebrates National Immigrants Day on Friday, October 28, 2022, by recognizing 10 immigrant-focused Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) that are receiving capacity-strengthening grants made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Each organization will receive two-year grants of $150,000 and technical assistance as part of OIA’s Capacity Strengthening Grants for Immigrant Focused CBOs initiative.

These grants are the first round of OIA’s efforts to support CBOs that are focused on helping immigrants and their families recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As more funds become available, OIA plans to provide similar grants to CBOs that serve immigrants throughout the LA County.Made Possible by the American Rescue Plan, Los Angeles County, Better than Before

“Through the Office of Immigrant Affairs and ARP Act investments, we are ensuring that the vibrant communities we serve are able to thrive as we recover from the pandemic,” said DCBA’s Director Rafael Carbajal. “We look forward to the successful implementation of every recipient-organizations’ projects to advance our mutual missions.”

“The Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) is honored to work with OIA and this group of nonprofit leaders over the next two years to build new skills and support their efforts to serve the many immigrant communities that enrich LA County and improve lives for so many,” said Regina Birdsell, CNM President and CEO.

Grants were made to the following immigrant-focused organizations for the following purposes:

  • Al Otro Lado will expand and restructure case management services by hiring a social worker to focus on LGBTQ+, disabled, indigent, Kreyol-speaking, Indigenous language-speaking and Spanish-speaking individuals, among other marginalized groups.
  • California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative will design communication strategies that reaffirm their strategic focus on racial justice and equity, Black/Asian solidarity, labor and employment rights, and securing a just economic recovery for the immigrant workforce.
  • Community Lawyers, Inc. (CLI) will increase temporary program staffing so that leadership can engage in tailored technical assistance around long-term strategic visioning, planning and fundraising.
  • Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO) will strengthen leadership and infrastructure to attend to language justice needs and fight against the invisibility of indigenous people and the resulting language violence.
  • Filipino Migrant Center will hire a bilingual Communications Coordinator and a bilingual Community Organizer to develop health education programs for low-income and working-class Filipino families in Los Angeles County.
  • Korean American Coalition will fight against Asian hate, provide bilingual and culturally appropriate alternative dispute resolution, ongoing COVID-19 in-language outreach, leadership development for Korean American youth, and civic engagement campaigns.
  • The Latino and Latina Roundtable will launch a pilot immigration program with temporary staff to coordinate immigration services and create programming and content to address the immediate needs of the immigrant community.
  • Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (NHPI) Alliance will develop specific, operations-level programs, personnel, fund development, and volunteer management plans and support the Alliance in expanding their citizenship and immigration clinics.
  • Refugee Children Center will support families unable to secure pro bono or low-cost representation in filing asylum applications or withholding removal and employment authorizations forms, thus increasing participants’ chances of securing legal representation.
  • Saahas for Cause will improve, configure and train staff in data collection and management, as well as strengthen the capacity of the Board of Directors, especially around roles and responsibilities and data-driven decision-making.

The 10 grantees were honored by OIA and the LA County Board of Supervisors at a virtual recognition event on Friday. A recording of the event is available on DCBA’s YouTube page.

For more information about the initiative, visit cnmsocal.org/capacity-strengthening-grants-for-immigrant-focused-cbos/. For more resources and information provided by the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs, visit immigrants.lacounty.gov.

National Immigrants Day is a commemoration that began with an Act of Congress in 1987 to honor the contributions of immigrants both past and present. It is recognized on October 28, the day the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886.

La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles da la bienvenida al anuncio de cambio de regla de carga pública 150 150 dcba

La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles da la bienvenida al anuncio de cambio de regla de carga pública

La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes (OIA) del Condado de Los Ángeles en el Departamento de Asuntos Comerciales y del Consumidor (DCBA) da la bienvenida al anuncio del 8 de septiembre de 2022 de la nueva regulación de “carga pública” por parte del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los EE. UU. (DHS). Esta regla fortalece las protecciones para las familias inmigrantes que buscan acceder a programas, recursos y servicios críticos ofrecidos por el condado de Los Ángeles y otras agencias públicas. Si bien la administración Biden ya revirtió la política de carga pública de la era Trump en marzo de 2021, el anuncio de hoy aclara cuales programas se consideran en una determinación de carga pública, así como los muchos programas y recursos importantes que no se consideran. Es importante destacar que el uso de los programas de red de seguridad por parte de un niño u otro miembro de la familia nunca afectará al solicitante de inmigración de un familiar o miembro del hogar bajo esta regla.

Este cambio de regla, que entra en vigencia formalmente el 23 de diciembre de 2022, es un recordatorio importante de que los inmigrantes elegibles y los miembros de su hogar pueden acceder a programas de vivienda, nutrición y atención médica sin preocuparse por el impacto en su estatus legal migratorio. Esto es especialmente importante considerando la reciente expansión de Medi-Cal en California a todas las personas elegibles por ingresos de 50 años o más, independientemente de su estatus migratorio. La regla aclara que solo la atención institucional a largo plazo a expensas del gobierno, o el uso de asistencia en efectivo para el mantenimiento de ingresos, como SSI, TANF (CalWorks) y asistencia en efectivo estatal, local y tribal, pueden considerarse en una determinación de carga pública.

Lamentablemente, miles de familias inmigrantes en el condado se han visto disuadidas de buscar recursos críticos durante la pandemia debido a preocupaciones sobre la carga pública, incluso después de que la administración Biden revocó la regla de la administración de Trump. El anuncio de hoy brinda una oportunidad importante para deshacer ese daño. La OIA espera colaborar con organizaciones comunitarias, agencias gubernamentales y otras partes interesadas para ayudar a las familias inmigrantes a conocer este importante cambio de reglas y acceder de manera segura a muchos programas y recursos importantes sin preocuparse por las consecuencias del estatus migratorio.

Para obtener más información, comuníquese con la OIA al 800-593-8222 para hablar con un consejero.

OIA, CHIRLA Expand Program to Link Immigrants and Families to Legal Representation, Support Services 150 150 dcba

OIA, CHIRLA Expand Program to Link Immigrants and Families to Legal Representation, Support Services

New public-private regional program is first-in-nation to include a holistic approach to support immigrant households

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County (County) Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) announce the completion of an agreement to launch RepresentLA, a program to provide immigration legal representation and link immigrants in Los Angeles County and their families to critical support services. The agreement is between OIA serving as the County administrator and CHIRLA as the lead contractor.

RepresentLA is a public-private partnership funded by the County, the City of Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation. These partners worked together for more than a year to develop the program’s framework, applying lessons learned from their major investments in the immigration sector and input from nearly 100 public and community stakeholders.

A recent report by the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy highlights the devastating consequences when children and adults in removal proceedings go unrepresented. As leaders from around the hemisphere meet in Los Angeles to discuss regional migration challenges at the Summit of the Americas, RepresentLA stands for the bold commitment local leaders have undertaken to expand access to counsel and eliminate other barriers to immigrant integration.

RepresentLA includes four pillars to provide services in the following areas: removal defense for persons in immigration detention, removal defense for non-detained immigrants, affirmative immigration relief representation, and community support for clients and families during their immigration process. The community support pillar aims to ensure that historically underserved immigrant communities receive access to legal representation and connect clients and their families to holistic support services such as healthcare, housing resources, and wage protections. Anticipated additional funding from the County’s Department of Health Services will provide immigrants who are homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless with immigration legal representation, the first-of-its-kind effort in the nation.

To build and deliver these services, CHIRLA will partner with Immigrant Defenders Law Center for removal defense services, and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) for affirmative immigration relief services. These two organizations will work with CHIRLA to subcontract several other non-profit legal and social service providers to implement the full program in the coming months.

CHIRLA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Removal Defense Direct Representation Services in the coming days. CHIRLA will subsequently release an RFP to onboard community support providers and legal service providers to represent vulnerable immigrant populations to apply for various forms of affirmative immigration relief, including: immigrants experiencing homelessness, asylum seekers, survivors of labor trafficking and other severe workplace exploitation, and minors eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Following these competitive application processes to onboard service providers, RepresentLA is expected to begin accepting clients in the summer of 2022.

More information regarding RepresentLA, including how to become a collaborating partner, will be available within a week at: representla.org or immigrants.lacounty.gov.

OIA Creative Strategist Explores the Immigrant Experience of Donut Shops in New Art Exhibit 150 150 dcba

OIA Creative Strategist Explores the Immigrant Experience of Donut Shops in New Art Exhibit

Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) hosted a community resource fair for Unaccompanied Minors and their sponsors when an unexpected sight may have been encountered. Artist Phung Huynh, has always had a passion for art and its ability to spark conversations about culture, customs, and representation, and continues to share her craft nationally and internationally. Huynh was selected as DCBA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) Artist and Creative Strategist through an innovative program created by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture which uses art to explore creative solutions to complex challenges.

Children's artwork hangs from portable booths at a community event.

At a Welcome Fair at East Los Angeles College, Phung Huynh creates a welcoming environment that encourages expression through art and displays attendee artwork.

Huynh proudly recalls the moment a child visited a community fair booth three times because they wanted to express themselves through art. Reflecting on her selection for the post, she says: “I am honored and privileged at the chance to make an impact through art and working with the community. I help uplift the narratives of those we serve.”

“This is a perfect opportunity to connect art to OIA. My work contributes to immigrants feeling welcome and safe in a festive and fun environment,” she said. The latter an intentional recognition on her part that all residents deserve joy.

As a Southeast Asian refugee, Huynh found peace, solace, guidance and belonging through a neighbor’s connection to art and the Cambodian diaspora by way of Paris, France.

Donut Whole exhibition promotional artwork. Exhibition runs from March 12 to May 27, 20222Those in Los Angeles have a limited opportunity to see Huynh’s work in her latest exhibit Donut (W)hole at Self Help Graphics and Art which opened on March 12, 2022 and runs through May 27, 2022. It explores the nexus between the Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee experience and donut shops through a unique medium – the synonymous pink boxes popularized by these shops.

Huynh shares that this exhibit is for everyone of all ages. Those that relate to the California experience and who visit donut shops regularly will reminisce. This exhibit is also for those that have sensed “a feeling of other” or “not able to find their name.” She says it honors the names and histories of refugees in pursuit of their own American dream.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register for this event at selfhelpgraphics.eventbrite.com as this exhibit has garnered extensive coverage on local television, digital, and food-based news outlets.

Visitors to the Donut Whole art exhibition draw their own donuts

Donut (W)hole exhibition attendees create artwork that reflects their cultural identity.

Those who attend the exhibit might make comparisons to public works of art, and rightly so. Huynh’s distinct style and prominence has been rewarded with opportunities to share her work at Metro light rail stations, Los Angeles Zoo and other Los Angeles County facilities. Those works, as well as her future works and exhibits can be found at phunghuynh.com.

Whether through a traditional art exhibit or helping children find their artistic philosophy, Phung Huynh excitedly looks forward to the next opportunity that intertwines the power of expression, reflection, and hope.

Community Navigators to Connect LA County Immigrants to Critical Services 150 150 dcba

Community Navigators to Connect LA County Immigrants to Critical Services

Finding accurate and up-to-date information from trusted sources is a challenge for many Immigrants in Los Angeles County. Despite the devastating impact of the 2020 economic crisis on immigrant households, new research from the Urban Institute demonstrates that 1 out of 4 adults in low-income immigrant families avoided government benefit programs and other assistance because of immigration concerns. The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), part of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, is rising to the challenge to deliver critical information directly to LA County’s immigrants through a new, groundbreaking private-public initiative.

Through the Immigrant Essential Workers Public Charge Outreach and Education Program, the OIA will partner with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) to train and deploy a cohort of trusted, culturally and linguistically competent community navigators. These navigators will educate the community about accessing LA County services and how use of these vital resources relates to the federal government’s public charge rules.

The Community Navigators program is funded by a grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation, with critical support from Weingart Foundation and California Community Foundation.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen how important it is for residents, regardless of immigration status, to receive information in a culturally linguistic and competent manner through the Promotores program,” shared Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Hilda L. Solis. “I am confident the Community Navigators program can achieve that same level of success and create a positive impact by increasing access to essential County services in a culturally sensitive way.”

“All immigrants and their families deserve to be safe and comfortable when accessing the County resources they need,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “We’re proud to provide this program to help vulnerable communities during these challenging times.”

“Years of surviving and fighting immigrant-bashing, as well as multiple deportations, have fostered understandable fear among our immigrant neighbors, with the result that 1 in 4 are reluctant to apply for services to which they are entitled,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Every immigrant in LA County has the right to receive resources, regardless of immigration status. That’s why this program is so important. It creates a safe space so that people who would greatly benefit from services can take advantage of them without fear.”

“The economic challenges of the past 18 months have affected people in all walks of life, including immigrants in Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “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.”

“By wisely leveraging public-private partnerships, I applaud County departments, agencies and partner organizations for stepping up to provide critical assistance to vulnerable communities while we collaboratively maintain fiscal responsibility for all of our residents,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

“Educating the community is a critical component of our department’s mission,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director, LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We are thrilled to bring together a partnership from public, private, and nonprofit sectors to provide the best, most reliable education to our County’s most vulnerable.”

“Fear runs deep in immigrant communities about using County support services,” said Rigo Reyes, Executive Director, LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs. “These trusted community-based navigators are essential to heal immigrants’ concerns and help them access the services they and their families need.”

“Too many California communities are facing the compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration policy changes,” said Carolyn Wang Kong, Chief Program Director at Blue Shield of California Foundation. “Wherever possible, we need to support trusted community messengers in bringing accurate, actionable information to communities who need it most, so that they can access the public benefits for which they are eligible and that can help ensure healthier futures.”

“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. 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,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director.

“It is crucial for us to protect our immigrant communities,” said Miguel A. Santana, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “Many immigrants are frontline workers, healthcare professionals, and domestic and agriculture workers who have sustained our region throughout the pandemic. That’s why we’re proud to support LA County’s new Community Navigator program, which will help immigrant communities access vital safety net programs during this challenging time.”

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information, visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.

Office of Immigrant Affairs Welcomes Artist Phung Huynh as Creative Strategist 150 150 dcba

Office of Immigrant Affairs Welcomes Artist Phung Huynh as Creative Strategist

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is honored to welcome celebrated artist Phung Huynh to the department as Creative Strategist for the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) as part of the Creative Strategist Program administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture.

Phung Huynh is a Los Angeles-based artist and educator whose art practice focuses on drawing, painting, and public art. Her work explores cultural perception and representation. Known for exploring the complexities of Southeast Asian refugee communities through drawings that include the iconic pink donut box, Huynh will apply her artistic practice and her own experience as a refugee and immigrant to her work with OIA staff on strategies to build trust and increase participation in LA County support services.

Phung Huynh

Phung Huynh, Photo by City of Los Angeles COLA program

“The talents of immigrant artists have helped to make Los Angeles County the nation’s creative capital,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “Phung Huynh’s work speaks to the immigrant story and makes a perfect match to help the Office of Immigrant Affairs celebrate the contributions of immigrants that make LA County a vibrant and welcoming place for all.”

“It’s an honor to welcome Phung Huynh and her impressive artistry and ideas into our Office of Immigrant Affairs,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We extend our gratitude to the Department of Arts and Culture for selecting OIA as a place where art can help us better engage and serve those who have made Los Angeles their home.”

“Artists have the power to inspire and advance belonging and identity in communities. The Creative Strategist Program brings that power and creative problem solving into the service sector,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Department of Arts and Culture. “We believe that this cross-sector partnership with the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the amazing, community-minded Phung Huynh will find innovative ways to build more access to arts and cultural resources for immigrants in Los Angeles County.”

“The role of artist is deeply connected to the role of cultural builder who serves the community,” said Huynh. “Intentional engagement and making art through a social justice lens are central to my practice, as well as my commitment to immigrant communities, women’s issues, and BIPOC solidarity. As an artist, educator, mother, and activist, I hope that when people engage with my work, they are positively impacted and rethink their relationships with their own communities and what sort of impact they can make.”

The Creative Strategist program is a recommendation of the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, which is implemented by the Department of Arts and Culture. The program places artists and creative professionals in residence at a County agency, applying artistic practices towards the development of innovative solutions to complex social challenges.

In addition to her new assignment with OIA, Huynh has been commissioned with other County public art projects and recently earned a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowship through LA City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. As one of 14 COLA fellows, Huynh’s works are currently being featured virtually at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

Many Immigrants Eligible to Apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program 150 150 dcba

Many Immigrants Eligible to Apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program

If a loved one has died this year because of COVID-19—even if the deceased was undocumented—you might be eligible to receive financial help for their funeral expenses.

Los Angeles County residents can now apply through FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program. To be eligible for funeral assistance, LA County residents must meet all of these FEMA established conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified non-citizen who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.

LA County encourages eligible applicants to call FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333 between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, or visit FEMA.gov for additional information.

FEMA COVID Funeral info in EnglishFEMA COVID Funeral info in SpanishFEMA COVID Funeral info in KoreanFEMA COVID Funeral info in Chinese

DCBA Investigation Leads to $10.5 Million Settlement for Latino Immigrant Consumers Harmed by Major Retailer 150 150 dcba

DCBA Investigation Leads to $10.5 Million Settlement for Latino Immigrant Consumers Harmed by Major Retailer

From March 9, 2021

Extensive, years-long investigative work by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) assisting the Office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has resulted in a $10.5 million partial settlement against Los Angeles-based retailer Curacao for business practices that unlawfully harmed primarily Spanish-speaking immigrant consumers and their families.

The settlement resolves multiple allegations included in a 2017 lawsuit filed by the Attorney General against Adir International, the parent company of Curacao, and its owner Ron Azarkman. The lawsuit alleged that Curacao lured in customers by advertising low prices and easy credit, then informed those consumers they could only buy at the advertised price after purchasing ancillary accessories, warranties, or installation services. In other cases, Curacao added items to payment contracts without the customers’ knowledge.

DCBA investigators spent hundreds of hours interviewing dozens of Curacao’s affected customers, nearly all of whom are Latino immigrants with low incomes who communicate primarily in Spanish, to collect and provide crucial evidence to support the Attorney General’s lawsuit and eventual settlement.

“Immigrants in Los Angeles County, particularly those whose primary language is something other than English, face significant challenges every day. The least they can expect is to be treated fairly and lawfully by businesses that serve and market to them in their preferred language,” said DCBA Director Rafael Carbajal. “We are pleased that the Attorney General has secured relief for consumers who need it most, and that we were able to play our part to help keep the marketplace fair for both consumers and businesses which properly follow the law.”

If you believe you’ve been a victim of unlawful practices by any business, please contact DCBA at (800) 593-8222 or file a complaint online at dcba.lacounty.gov. DCBA provides free, one-on-one support for all residents of Los Angeles County and customers of Los Angeles County businesses.

As part of the Attorney General’s announcement, Curacao must provide $10 million in debt relief for consumers who were harmed by their conduct. The settlement also includes additional debt forgiveness for customers who are still paying Curacao for unlawful small claims judgments, plus $500,000 in civil penalties. The settlement also includes injunctive terms requiring Curacao to comply with California law and treat its customers fairly and ethically. Those terms include:

  • Curacao stores will prominently display a consumers’ bill of rights;
  • Curacao must sell items as they are advertised, and must provide additional disclosures in its advertising;
  • Senior management will review Curacao’s advertising for compliance with the court judgment;
  • Curacao must fully disclose all material contract terms before asking customers to sign contracts;
  • Curacao must provide customers with a contract in their language before asking them to sign;
  • Debt collection efforts will be limited to one phone communication per day with delinquent consumers;
  • Curacao will stop debt collection activities against, and clear the credit records for, consumers who had default judgments entered against them in unlawful small claims actions;
  • A corporate ethics expert will help Curacao create and maintain an effective sales incentive, compliance, and ethics program that incentivizes lawful behavior, and that includes annual ethical culture surveys and assessments; and
  • Curacao will regularly report its compliance to the Attorney General for several years and provide access to its records for review.

The settlement is a stipulated judgment that resolves part of the state’s lawsuit against Curacao. Unresolved claims related to Curacao’s illegal payment protection plans and insurance practices will be tried in Los Angeles Superior Court.

 

Investigación de DCBA concluye en un acuerdo de $ 10.5 millones para consumidores inmigrantes latinos perjudicados por un comerciante popular

El Fiscal General de California Llega a un Acuerdo Parcial Con Curacao en Una Demanda Alegando Múltiples Prácticas Comerciales Ilegales

Una investigación extensa, tras años de trabajo del Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores y Negocios del Condado de Los Ángeles (DCBA) asistiendo a la Oficina del Fiscal General de California, Xavier Becerra, ha dado como resultado un acuerdo parcial de $ 10.5 millones. contra Curacao, una cadena de tiendas basado en Los Ángeles, por las prácticas comerciales ilegales que principalmente dañaron a los consumidores inmigrantes hispanohablantes y a sus familias.

El acuerdo resuelve múltiples acusaciones incluidas en una demanda presentada en el 2017 por el Fiscal General contra Adir International, la empresa matriz de Curacao, y su propietario Ron Azarkman. La demanda alega que Curacao atrajo a los clientes anunciando precios bajos y crédito fácil, y luego informando a esos consumidores que solo podían comprar al precio anunciado después de comprar accesorios auxiliares, garantías o servicios de instalación. En otros casos, Curacao agregó artículos a los contratos de pago sin el conocimiento del consumidor.

Los investigadores de DCBA pasaron cientos de horas entrevistando a docenas de clientes afectados por Curacao, la mayoría de ellos siendo inmigrantes latinos de bajos ingresos que se comunican principalmente en español, para coleccionar y proporcionar evidencia crucial para respaldar la demanda del Fiscal General e informo el acuerdo eventual.

“Los inmigrantes en el Condado de Los Ángeles, particularmente aquellos cuyo idioma principal no es inglés, enfrentan retos significantes diariamente. Lo mínimo que deberían esperar es ser tratados de manera justa y legal por las empresas que los sirven y hacen llegar anuncios en su idioma preferido,” dijo Rafael Carbajal, el director del Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores Y Negocios del Condado de Los Ángeles. “Estamos contentos de que el Fiscal General haya asegurado compensación para los consumidores que más lo necesitan, y que pudimos desempeñar nuestro papel para ayudar a mantener un mercado justo tanto para los consumidores como para las empresas que cumplen debidamente con la ley.”

Si cree que ha sido víctima de prácticas ilegales por parte de cualquier empresa, por favor comuníquese con DCBA al (800) 593-8222 o presente una queja en línea en dcba.lacounty.gov. DCBA brinda asistencia personalizada y gratuita para todos los residentes y consumidores del condado de Los Ángeles, independientemente de su estado migratorio.

Según el anuncio del Fiscal General, Curacao debe proporcionar $10 millones en alivio de la deuda para los consumidores que resultaron perjudicados por la conducta de la compañía. El acuerdo también incluye el perdón de deudas adicionales para los clientes que todavía están haciendo pagos a Curacao por juicios de reclamos menores obtenidos ilegalmente, más $500,000 en multas civiles. El acuerdo también incluye medidas cautelares que requieren que Curacao cumpla con la ley de California y trate a sus clientes de manera justa y ética. Esos términos incluyen:

  • Las tiendas de Curacao exhibirán de manera prominente una declaración de derechos de los consumidores;
  • Curacao debe vender los artículos tal como se anuncian y debe proporcionar divulgaciones adicionales en su publicidad;
  • La alta gerencia revisará la publicidad de Curacao para verificar el cumplimiento de la sentencia judicial;
  • Curacao debe revelar completamente todos los términos materiales del contrato antes de pedir a los clientes que firmen contratos;
  • Curacao debe proporcionar a los clientes un contrato en su idioma antes de pedirles que lo firmen;
  • Los esfuerzos de cobranza de deudas se limitarán a una comunicación telefónica por día con los consumidores morosos;
  • Curacao detendrá las actividades de cobro de deudas y limpiará los registros de crédito de los consumidores a los que se les haya dictado sentencias por incumplimiento en acciones ilegales de reclamos menores;
  • Un experto en ética corporativa ayudará a Curacao a crear y mantener un programa eficaz de incentivos de ventas, cumplimiento y ética que fomente el comportamiento legal y que incluya encuestas y evaluaciones anuales de cultura ética; y
  • Curacao informará periódicamente su cumplimiento al Fiscal General a lo largo varios años y proporcionará acceso a sus registros para su revisión.

El acuerdo es un juicio estipulado que resuelve parte de la demanda del Estado contra Curacao. Los reclamos no resueltos relacionados con los planes de protección de pagos ilegales y las prácticas de seguros de Curacao serán juzgados en el Tribunal Superior de Los Ángeles.

El acuerdo de hoy se documenta en un juicio parcial estipulado que está disponible aquí.

OIA Statement: Supporting LA County’s AAPI Communities 150 150 dcba

OIA Statement: Supporting LA County’s AAPI Communities

 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Office of Immigrant Affairs Supports LA County’s AAPI Communities and Calls on Angelenos to Unite Against Hate 

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs is saddened by the violence that occurred in Atlanta this week and mourns the tragic loss of eight lives, including six women of Asian ethnicity. This heartbreaking loss of life is compounded by the anti-Asian bigotry, hate, and misogyny that underlies the violence and many other incidents over recent months.

Los Angeles County’s cultural diversity is a source of strength and pride. The over 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who live in LA County, many for several generations and others who are immigrants, represent an integral, rich part of the fabric of the County. Many members of our AAPI communities continue to serve heroically on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as essential workers in all fields, including healthcare, law enforcement, and government, and as small business owners. AAPI Angelenos have been forced to deal with the fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic while also confronting growing hate and discrimination. Anti-AAPI hate has no place in our nation, and certainly no place in Los Angeles County.

The Office of Immigrant Affairs encourages all Angelenos to use this week’s tragedy as a call to action to heal, to grow, and to learn. The LA vs Hate campaign encourages and supports all residents of LA County to unite against, report, and resist hate. If you have been a victim of a hate incident, please call the County’s 24/7 multilingual hotline at 2-1-1 to report the incident, and to receive support and resources. Immigrants are encouraged to access these services without fear related to their immigration status. Persons who still have such concerns, or who wish to be connected to wraparound services from LA County, can contact the Office of Immigrant Affairs for assistance: (800) 593-8222; oia.lacounty.gov.

 

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