A study commissioned by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury concluding that illegal aliens account for a $63-million drain on local services was attacked as misleading Tuesday by both conservative and liberal elements of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Conservative Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Deane Dana said the study, conducted by a San Francisco accounting firm, understated the true impact of illegal aliens, which they estimated is more than twice the amount reported.
Supervisor Ed Edelman, a liberal, meanwhile, said the report failed to note the often positive impact that illegal aliens have on the local economy. Jack Merritt of the Harvey M. Rose Accountancy Corp. conceded that the figures in his report are not exact. And that, he added, is the whole point of the report.
Merritt said the county needs to carefully track how much illegal aliens cost in terms of law enforcement, welfare, health and other local services. Once armed with precise information, he said, the county could seek federal reimbursement for at least part of the services provided to illegal aliens.
But Chief Administrative Officer Richard B. Dixon said such a tracking system not only would be expensive, it probably would not lead to any windfall for the county. He reminded the board that the federal government has not in the past indicated any willingness to provide relief to cities and counties where illegal aliens have tended to settle.
Dixon, however, was instructed to study the grand jury report and determine if there are any cost-saving measures the county can take.