Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers aim to pro­tect il­le­gal im­mi­grants

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY JONATHAN J. COOPER AND AMY TAXIN

SACRA­MENTO, CALIF. | Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers on Mon­day urged Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump to re­frain from pur­su­ing mass de­por­ta­tions and in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to fund im­mi­gra­tion lawyers and help pub­lic de­fend­ers pro­tect the state’s im­mi­grants.

Demo­cratic law­mak­ers also passed res­o­lu­tions in both cham­bers urg­ing the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion to up­hold a pro­gram for hun­dreds of thou­sands of young im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally, de­spite in­tense protests from some Repub­li­cans.

State Sen. Ben Hueso, San Diego Demo­crat, in­tro­duced a bill to fund lawyers for im­mi­grants in de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings, while Assem­bly­man Rob Bonta, Alameda Demo­crat, pro­posed help­ing pub­lic de­fend­ers as­sess the im­mi­gra­tion con­se­quences of crim­i­nal con­vic­tions.

Both mea­sures were marked ur­gent and aim to pro­tect il­le­gal im­mi­grants in Cal­i­for­nia — the state has an es­ti­mated 2.4 mil­lion — from Trump’s cam­paign prom­ises of tougher im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment.

“This is a salvo, if you will, across the board to make it very clear that th­ese are the val­ues of Cal­i­for­nia,” Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Los An­ge­les Demo­crat, told re­porters.

Demo­cratic law­mak­ers, who hold su­per­ma­jori­ties in both cham­bers, pro­posed the mea­sures fol­low­ing a heated elec­tion year where Mr. Trump made bor­der en­force­ment a cen­tral point of his cam­paign and had harsh rhetoric for Mex­i­can im­mi­grants and Mus­lims.

On the first day of the new leg­isla­tive ses­sion — which is typ­i­cally re­served for con­grat­u­la­tory hand­shakes and bi­par­ti­san photo-ops — de­bate was heated over Democrats’ res­o­lu­tions urg­ing Mr. Trump to con­tinue to is­sue work per­mits to young im­mi­grants brought to the coun­try as chil­dren. More than 740,000 young peo­ple are cov­ered by the pro­gram to­day.

Sen. John Moor­lach, Costa Mesa Repub­li­can, said he thought it was the wrong ap­proach for Cal­i­for­nia to take such an an­tag­o­nis­tic tone with a pres­i­dent who is not even in­au­gu­rated yet.

“I’m not com­fort­able with say­ing we will fight, although I un­der­stand it. I think we ought to try to work with this ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he said. “We should be col­lab­o­ra­tive. I don’t think de­fi­ance is the right ap­proach.”

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Demo­crat, de­clined to take a po­si­tion Mon­day on the im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion be­ing in­tro­duced. But he said he’ll “look very care­fully at what­ever they pro­pose.”

“I have signed some sim­i­lar mea­sures in the past, at least through the bud­get,” he told re­porters in his of­fice. “I am very sup­port­ive of the peo­ple of Cal­i­for­nia and those who have come here more re­cently, so I’ll take a good look at what­ever they present.”

The two im­mi­gra­tion bills in­tro­duced Mon­day could cost the state be­tween $10 mil­lion and $80 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to pro­po­nents.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

State Sen. Ben Hueso, San Diego Demo­crat (sec­ond from left), has pro­posed a bill to fund lawyers for im­mi­grants in de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings.

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