Governor Brown designated an additional $15 million to “expand legal defense services for people battling deportation” from California’s budget, according to the Los Angeles Times. That brings the total to $33 million solely devoted to protecting people who are here illegally.
The article comes on the eve of Immigrant Day. An annual event started in 1996 to celebrate the contributions immigrants have made to our country and also to raise awareness of injustice. California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) Executive Director, Cynthia Buiza, who was born in the Philippines, spoke about the importance of the special day.
"We have painted immigrants as this desperate group fighting for something when sometimes it is fighting for who you are, the integrity of the human beings,” Buiza said, "We're not going to allow a certain narrative to be told, we know who we are, I know who I am as an immigrant."
But many on social media disagree with the governor’s decision to boost the financial aid for legal defense with taxpayer dollars.
Diana Verb tweeted to ABC10's Anne Di Grazia, “Take care of our homeless veterans first!” and Robynn Fried wrote in ABC10’s comments, in part, "Our state is broken, and that money is needed for our infrastructure.”
"We fear mass deportations, social and economic consequences to the state of California, and it is very important that the governor has this investment so we can ensure that we have those protections for our residents,” Coleman said.
He said the money will increase government funded access to counsel for immigrants but Brown’s office declined to comment on the use of the funds. There are also additional pieces of legislation up for consideration that would add millions more to help undocumented people.
"What we want to do is make sure everyone has a state funded attorney to make sure they go through court proceedings for deportation,” Coleman added.
Immigrant Day is Monday at the Capitol on the west steps starting at 8:30 a.m. in the morning.