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California to use taxpayers’ money to defend convicted migrants in court for free under new controversial bill

California’s government and its legislators are persistently extending complimentary services to undocumented immigrants, even amidst significant criticism from political opponents both within and outside the state. This initiative is introduced during a period of increased migration at the border, particularly affecting southern communities and cities in California that are urgently in need of financial resources to manage the growing number of migrants.

The California migrant crisis

In the past few months, there has been a noticeable increase in migrants attempting to enter the United States, with California experiencing a notable uptick. This shift occurred as Texas enhanced its border security measures, prompting migrants to look for alternative entry points. The Mayor of El Cajon, California, recently highlighted that over 100,000 migrants have crossed into the state via the San Diego border in the recent months. This influx has led to the closure of a migrant shelter in San Diego due to a lack of funds, and local hospitals are struggling to accommodate patients injured during illegal border crossings.

California bill to help migrants owning a home

Recently, California Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) has introduced Assembly Bill 1840. This proposed bill aims to enable undocumented immigrants to qualify for loans that could cover up to 20% of the cost of purchasing a house or condo. These loans would be interest-free and not require monthly repayments. If passed, this legislation would afford undocumented immigrants the same housing opportunities as American residents in California, sparking a lot of debate.

New California bill seeks to give migrants even more rights

A new bill introduced to the California state government by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from Los Angeles, could make it easier for migrants who have been convicted of violent crimes to get financial support. This bill, brought up in February, aims to adjust the One California program. This program is about giving money to nonprofits and other groups that help immigrants get legal help, which can be too expensive for many of them.

The California bill aims to give money to nonprofits and other groups that help convicted immigrants to get legal help in court

Immigration is hot topic nationwide

This proposal is happening while the topic of immigration is causing a lot of debates in the country, especially with more people seeking asylum and coming across the border from Mexico to the U.S. In fact, the number of people encountered at the border has increased from about 1.7 million in 2021 to over 2.4 million in the 2023 fiscal year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports.

Republicans seek tougher border control

The discussion is split, with Republicans wanting tougher border control to reduce the number of migrants, and Democrats arguing that the U.S. should welcome asylum seekers and provide more support for immigrants. If Jones-Sawyer’s bill passes, it would change how the grant money from the One California program can be used, including removing restrictions that currently prevent migrants with violent crime convictions from accessing these funds, according to the language of the bill.

The California bill aims to give money to nonprofits and other groups that help convicted immigrants to get legal help in court

Surprising data

Currently, the law says that money from this grant cannot be used to help someone who has been found guilty of, or is challenging a guilty verdict for, a serious or violent crime. This proposed bill aims to get rid of this rule, allowing those individuals to also receive legal aid from the funds.

Interestingly, research shows that immigrants might actually commit fewer crimes than people born in the U.S. A study from Stanford University released in July 2023 discovered that immigrants are 60% less likely to end up in jail for crimes compared to U.S. natives.

Additionally, the bill seeks to adjust the requirements for groups that offer legal help to undocumented young people. It plans to broaden the type of services eligible for funding. This includes making sure services that help with immigration court defense are covered, specifically for those who plan to live in California and have a strong connection to the state.

The controversial bill sparked reactions

@EndWokeness, a very popular account on X, the social media network formerly known as Twitter, shared a post with the bill on Monday and it gone viral, reaching almost 12 million views as of writing of this article. They asked the followers, “California’s most insane bill yet?”

The post was shared by Elon Musk asking, “When is enough enough?” Musk has been vocal opponent of Biden admin immigration policies attacking the federal government in numerous occasions in recent weeks. He even blamed the government that allows illegal immigration on purposes hoping that one days these people will become Democratic voters.

Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren also reposted the proposed bill saying, “I honestly think these insane liberal lunatics just play games to see how far they can go and how far they can push their mail-in voters.”

On the other hand, immigration advocates praised the lawmaker behind the bill expressing their vocal support.

Masih Fouladi, the Executive Director at California Immigrant Policy Center Executive, has issued the following statement:

“California is stronger when immigrant individuals at risk of deportation can remain together with their families in their communities. This is why the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) is proud to support and co-sponsor the REP4All bill that would ensure immigrant families have access to the legal services and resources they need to thrive with safety and stability – regardless of an individual’s criminal history. Publicly funded immigration services protect the most vulnerable families in our state and improve the quality of life of all Californians.”

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