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Orange County Focus

WESTMINSTER : Mayoral Panel Begins Immigration Study

August 25, 1993|ANDREA HEIMAN

Mayor Charles V. Smith, the recently appointed co-chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said Tuesday that the committee has begun a study of immigration problems and possible solutions.

The task force plans to present its ideas to Congress and to the President's office in January.

Smith, who serves as task force chairman along with New York Mayor David Dinkins, was one of 20 mayors from across the nation who met in Louisville, Ky., last weekend to discuss the effect of legal and illegal immigration on local governments. Smith was chosen as chairman because of Westminster's large Vietnamese population.

The task force directed the U.S. Conference of Mayors' staff to research several major immigration issues before its next meeting at the end of September: the impact of legal and illegal immigration on local government and services including health, education and welfare, and the cost to local communities; borders, and where immigrants are going once they arrive in this country; and the structure of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol and how these agencies can work with local governments.

Smith will gather information through the Vietnamese community here, he said, looking especially at the impact on the city of the federally sponsored Orderly Departure Program, which allows Vietnamese to immigrate to this country if they have an American sponsor. Many of those arriving have health and language problems and receive little help from the government, Smith said.

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