SACRAMENTO — FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today as Governor Brown signed the State Budget, which includes funding to ensure fair legal representation for California’s immigrants:
“FWD.us commends Governor Jerry Brown, the State Legislature and organizations like the California Immigrant Policy Center and California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance who have worked tirelessly to uphold our shared American values and protect the rights of all Californians with this funding in the State Budget, which will provide access to legal aid for immigrants who are detained or tried in court. Now, more than ever, every state has a responsibility to uphold the constitutional rights of those within its borders, which includes the right to fair due process under the law. Whether the accused is native-born or an immigrant, they have a right to legal counsel before a judgment is rendered.
As the state that’s home to one in every four immigrants living in the U.S. – as well as the sixth largest economy in the world – California is acutely aware of the enormous contributions of immigrants to the lives of all Californians, and to their economy. While we continue our work to fix our broken immigration system by passing commonsense legislative reform through Congress, we are heartened by California taking this crucial step to protect the constitutional rights for the estimated ten million immigrants within its borders.”
This year, the State Legislature passed budget legislation Assembly Bill 105, authorizing $45 million in funding for the Department of Social Services to contract with nonprofit legal service organizations to provide legal counsel and services to California immigrants in need.