Thanks to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, millions of dollars of aid will now be available to California’s illegal immigrants, in order to help them navigate the complexities of the legal system, the Washington Post reports.
Illegal immigrants have been streaming across the southern U.S. border, with a dramatic uptick in border crossing this summer. Most of the illegals are from Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and President Barack Obama has been quick to term the situation a humanitarian crisis.
As a result of the new legislation, millions of dollars are being passed to qualified nonprofits to provide legal services. “Helping these young people navigate our legal system is the decent thing to do, and it’s consistent with the progressive spirit of California,” Brown said.
Not only does the new legislation provide monetary support, but it allows the court to provide interpreters to the minors. More significantly, state courts will now clearly have the jurisdiction to offer the findings necessary for the federal government to grant special immigrant juvenile status. The bill was introduced last month and sailed through the Assembly and the Senate, with the full support of the Latino Legislative Caucus and Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
“The humanitarian crisis at the border involving unaccompanied minors fleeing dangerous circumstances at home is a serious problem that requires a serious response. Deportation for some of these kids is tantamount to a virtual death sentence,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara, chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. “That’s why it’s critical that these kids have every opportunity to seek permanent residency, including through the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.”
Democratic California Sen. Darrell Steinberg, one of the bill’s ardent supporters, recently went on a mission down to Central America with a group of state lawmakers to discuss with leaders how to mitigate the humanitarian crisis and strike at the root causes of the migration problem. Up to as many as 57,000 unaccompanied minors have entered the U.S. since October 2013.
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