SACRAMENTO–Today, California lawmakers introduced Assembly Bill 3 and Senate Bill 6 to provide legal representation to the state’s immigrant communities who will be targeted by the federal government’s efforts to ramp up deportation programs and go after new classes of people for deportation.
Specifically, the two bills would establish state funding to help prevent avoidable deportations and ensure that people receive effective legal representation.
Assembly Bill 3 (D-Bonta) provides public defenders with the necessary resources and training to adequately advise their clients about their cases’ possible immigration consequences.
Senate Bill 6 (D-Hueso) gives immigrants facing deportation a shot at a fair immigration court hearing by ensuring they have qualified immigration attorneys to represent them. Research shows that immigrants with a qualified immigration attorney representing them are five times more likely to win their immigration cases than immigrants without an attorney, but most Californians facing deportation cannot afford a lawyer or cannot access one.
In response, Jennie Pasquarella, Immigrants’ Rights Director with the American Civil Liberties Union of California, had the following to say:
“Now, more than ever, California must stand by its values of fairness and due process, and the many immigrants that call California their home.
For many immigrants, AB 3 and SB 6 could be the difference between being able to stay in the country and being torn from their families, communities, and lives they have built here.
Today, the ACLU is proud to stand with immigrants of all backgrounds to support legislation reinforcing California’s commitment to due process: the idea that everyone deserves a fair hearing, whether they are confronted with a criminal charge or a deportation charge, and that fairness demands that no one confront such charges without the adequate assistance of a lawyer. No one should have to face deportation – including permanent separation from children and families – without a lawyer to defend them.
We know that, in an immigrant-rich state like California, we all prosper when immigrants prosper. The Legislature’s investment in fairness and due process will no doubt ensure all of California prospers.”