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IRVINE : City Spares Family Reunification Panel

The City Council voted Tuesday to spare the city’s human rights and family reunification subcommittee, which works to reunite local residents with relatives trapped in Vietnam, China and other countries.

“It’s not a political issue, it’s a family issue,” said William A. (Art) Bloomer, a City Council member.

The council considered abolishing the committee along with 18 other advisory committees and commissions that were considered outdated or unneeded.

The family reunification subcommittee was part of the Citizens Advisory Committee on International Affairs set up in December, 1989, by the council then headed by Larry Agran. The committee currently is working on about 10 cases, including freeing a teen-age Vietnamese girl from a Thailand refugee center.

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The committee has cost the city about $20,000 a year in staff support and supplies.

The council voted to abolish the committee but to spin off its subcommittee to do the family reunification work. It will be called the Family Reunification Committee, minus the reference to human rights.

Councilman Barry J. Hammond cast the only vote to dissolve it, saying he supported their efforts but he would rather see them done privately than through city government.


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