Summary: California is offering a bill that will grant $3 million for immigrant children to get legal representation and avoid deportation.
Lawmakers are asking that immigration policies be set aside in consideration of the group of immigrants that has recently flooded California from Central America this last year — a group of unaccompanied minors. The issue has split predictably down political lines, with Obama and his administration butting heads with Republicans over what to do with the influx. A new bill proposed by the governor is offering $3 million to fund legal representation for these children, so they could avoid being deported; Democrats announced Thursday they would support the bill, and as they are dominant in California they would not require Republican support.
Approximately 57,000 unaccampanied children have crossed the border.
“I think we all came away with a feeling that these kids really needed our support, that it was about their safety, their due process, the ability to look beyond bigger political considerations and deal with a humanitarian crisis,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego Thursday.
“We all know that children are more likely to be deported if they don’t have legal representation in immigration court,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonvilles. “As a former immigration lawyer, we know that cases of asylum or refugee status in immigration court (are) complex.”
Though a federal issue, this bill represents the first meaningful efforts at the State level to get some representation for the children involved.
The bill does not require Republican participation to pass. Nevertheless, the Republican contribution to the dialogue addresses the issues and concerns we should expect them to point out. As Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said in a statement:“It is nice to see that this issue is finally on the Governor’s radar. The only question is: will this money solely address the current inadequacies of our system or simply attract more people into it creating even greater burdens on the California taxpayer?”
Creating a get-to-America free pass, out of simple consideration that the immigrants, though illegal, are children, certainly could lend itself to abuse.
Nevertheless, those supporting the bill see it as a humanitarian effort, and hope to help the children gain refugee status.