Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has picked a USC dean to head his newly formed Office of Immigrant Affairs, which will help immigrants, including those here illegally, access city services.
Linda Lopez, an associate dean for diversity and strategic initiatives for the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at USC, will be in charge of forming and leading the agency. Beyond helping immigrants navigate city government, the agency will also analyze and help develop state and federal policies that affect immigrants.
Garcetti pledged to create the office during his campaign for mayor. In a statement Tuesday, he said the office would further "integrate immigrants into the social, political, cultural and economic fabric of the city of Los Angeles."
Lopez endorsed Garcetti in his race this year against former City Controller Wendy Greuel and donated $1,800 to his political campaign.
Lopez, whose work at USC has focused on developing programs for first-generation college students, said in a statement that she hopes to help "L.A. immigrants cut through red tape and make City Hall work for them."
"Supporting their participation in civic life will benefit everyone in our city," she said.
According to Garcetti, her office will also play a role in helping immigrants navigate the federal immigration process if Congress creates a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without permission.
The Senate has already passed such a bill. Republican leaders in the House have said they will not take up a bill with a pathway to citizenship, opting instead to consider a package of smaller immigration changes.
A spokeswoman for the mayor said she did not know what the new office's budget would be.