The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors put off a decision Tuesday on who could access money in an immigration "justice fund" -- that would help people facing deportation pay for legal services.
The County has pledged up to $3-million to the fund over the next years, money that would be pooled with a similar fund from the City of Los Angeles and money from private donors.
Immigration advocates rallied outside the Hall of Administration to urge the Supervisors to make the money available to anyone facing deportation, even those with criminal records.
"It is critical that this fund protect the most vulnerable populations," said immigration attorney Michelle Carey.
"It will only be able to do so if it is truly universal," she said.
Money contributed by private groups would not be restricted, County officials said.
The State is considering a law to standardize the administration of public funds for these types of programs, but County attorneys have advised the board a finalized bill could be months away, and since there are people who need access to the justice fund now -- lawyers have advised the Supervisors to act as soon as possible.