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Young Immigrants Could Get $3 Million in Legal Aid Under New Bill

 
Young Immigrants Could Get $3 Million in Legal Aid Under New Bill
Posted August 22nd, 2014 @ 8:11am by KFBK News - Mike Simpson

Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and legislative leaders have announced a joint plan to provide $3 million for legal aid for the undocumented migrant children that have crossed the border.

The money will go to nonprofits that provide services and translators.

In a statement, the governor said helping the children navigate the legal system is a "decent thing to do."

Earlier this week, the state Senate urged President Barack Obama and Congress to do all they can to tackle the problem.

Norma Torres was the co-author.

"The United States must recognize this is a humanitarian crisis impacting young, and innocent children," she said. 

The resolution calls for an upholding of the rights of due process rights and continued international work.

Brown said during a recent trip to Mexico that the estimated 57,000 unaccompanied children who have been caught crossing into the U.S. illegally since Oct. 1 present a "humanitarian challenge."

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says the money would come from savings in the Assembly's budget and will be included in bills to be taken up next week.

Her office says there are about 3,900 unaccompanied minors in California.

California's Senate Majority Leader has joined the Latino Caucus in supporting a bill to spend $3 million on lawyers for migrant children. But, not everyone is behind the plan.

Senator Ted Gaines is expressing concern with the proposal.

"I'm very worried about the expense, $3 million. What will it be next year? Will it be $10-, $20-, $50 million. We live in a state where one out of four children live in poverty, so how can we take on more?" Gaines said.  

The Rocklin Republican would prefer a different type of compassionate approach.

"Returning these children to their home countries, working with a faith-based community and the governments in Central America to make sure that they are safe and secure," he said. 

Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff's office issued a statement saying he's yet to see details of the bill, but believes it will begin a discussion as to the role California can and should have in providing financial assistance for unaccompanied, undocumented children entering the state from Central America.

 

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