Since the start of the Trump administration, or really since liberals became aware there would be a Trump administration, there has been a deluge of pointedly anti-Trump, pro-immigrant legislation cropping up in Sacramento. If I wrote about each piece, this blog would be exclusively an immigration-focused place, and since I have neither the time, expertise, nor inclination to do so (not to say it’s not important, but I want the opportunity to explain other laws as well), I won’t. That said, there are a slew of important immigration bills up and coming, and I’ll do my best to keep you up to date, especially if anything is pending.
SB 6, named the ‘Due Process for All Act,’ has taken on a new sense of urgency, as President Trump’s executive orders have thrown some immigrants into legal limbo. As it is now, California entitles unaccompanied and undocumented minors to legal services when deemed appropriate and fiscally feasible. This bill would extend that privilege to individuals in removal proceedings who aren’t otherwise guaranteed legal representation.
Who to Call
- Your state senator. The bill has advanced out of the judiciary committee and is in appropriations.
One of the other reasons I’m not making this blog so entirely focused on immigration is it’s not exactly my area of expertise. As a credentialed capitol reporter, that was no problem, I usually just asked a staffer to give me the CliffNotes and I was set, but now is not the time (it’s 11 p.m. as I write, legislative offices are closed), these are the questions I would have asked. I’ve added the answers I could find doing my research the old-fashioned way–actually reading the bill–in italics.
- The bill specifies legal services for people who aren’t otherwise provided one–does this mean it’s not for people charged with a crime, as they’re entitled a public defender? Or is a public defender a right only guaranteed to documented residents/citizens?
- How will limited legal resources be allocated/prioritized? The contracts will be awarded to non-profits legal services partially based on whether or not they already receive state/local funding and in part based on characteristics of the individuals seeking legal services, like income.
- What is the cost to the state? What department does it come from? How is that determined? Are local governments at all concerned about incurring costs? What about the judiciary? The bill establishes a treasury fund to which private donors and philanthropists can contribute. It does not specify what part of the budget other funding for the
- Was this an issue prior to the Trump administration? Have you seen an increase in need for legal representation among undocumented immigrants? Is it a quantifiable difference?