California leaders announce $30 million plan to help DACA recipients
Sept. 13--Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced a plan Tuesday to set aside $30 million to help immigrants affected by President Trump's decision to rescind a program that shields thousands of them from deportation.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows immigrants who came to the United States as children to apply for temporary protections from deportation and to receive work permits.
The plan is expected to be discussed by a legislative committee on Wednesday. It would set aside $20 million for immigration legal services and send $10 million to public colleges and universities to provide financial aid to DACA students, also known as "Dreamers." Of the $10 million, $7 million would go to community colleges, $2 million to California State University and $1 million to the University of California.
The new funding is among the hundreds of bills being considered by the Legislature in the final days of its session. Major legislation is still pending, including a package of affordable housing bills that would put a $4 billion housing bond on the 2018 ballot and a new real estate fee to create $200 million to $300 million in housing money each year.
The Legislature will also take up bills to create sanctuary state policies, overhaul the sex offender registry, require the state to receive all of its power from renewable sources by 2045 and allow some counties -- including Alameda and San Francisco -- to approve safe injection sites to reduce opioid overdoses.
The last day for lawmakers to pass bills this session is Friday, pushing lawmakers to move the new DACA funding quickly following Tuesday's announcement.
"We will not let one man with xenophobic tendencies undercut years of progress we have made in California to integrate these young adults into our society and economy," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de LeÃ³n, D-Los Angeles, in a statement. "California is their home and they are our future."
DACA was implemented in 2012 by President Barack Obama to allow immigrants who came to the United States before age 16 to apply for two-year renewable permits to live and work here if they have lived in the country continuously since 2007 and were in school or have graduated from high school. Of the 800,000 participating immigrants, more than 200,000 live in California.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Trump administration will no longer accept new DACA applications. He said people currently in the program can continue with it until March 5, 2020, if they apply for the required renewals.
"The new funding for DACA services we are adding to the budget will provide answers and help young Californians stay in the only country they've ever known," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood Los Angeles County), said in a statement. "Donald Trump may love chaos. These kids don't deserve it."
On Monday, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco challenging Trump's decision to end DACA. California and three other states are arguing that ending the program betrayed the trust immigrants placed in the government that their information would be kept private. Instead, the home addresses, fingerprints and other information DACA participants provided will be used to help immigration agents track them down, Becerra said.
Among the bills the Legislature passed this week that now head to Brown are:
AB10 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County), would require schools that serve students from sixth grade and up and receive Title 1 funding for low-income students to provide free tampons and pads in at least half of the restrooms on campus. Many schools already provide free feminine hygiene products in their front office, but Garcia said campuses need to do more. The bill passed the Assembly 70-4 and the Senate 39-0.
AB562 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), would levy a civil fine of up to $5,000 to anyone who intentionally deceives, defrauds, obstructs or interferes with a state audit. The bill was introduced after state auditors revealed that the UC president's office interfered with a survey the auditor sent to campuses, rendering the results useless. The bill passed the Assembly 77-0 and Senate 36-0.
AB242 by Assemblymen Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, and Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, would require the state Department of Public Health to report every year to the Legislature on the number of veteran suicides. The bill passed the Assembly 77-0 and the Senate 38-0.
SB797 by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would allow San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties to place 1/8-cent tax measures on their ballots to fund Caltrain if first approved by two-thirds of Caltrain's board, two-thirds of each county's board of supervisors and a majority of members of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Mateo County Transit District, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. It passed 48-27 in the Assembly and 26-12 in the Senate.
AB343 by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, would allow refugees with special immigration visas to pay in-state tuition and be eligible for state financial aid programs. The special visa program is for immigrants who worked as translators for the U.S. military. The bill passed the Assembly 67-5 and the Senate 38-0.
Melody Gutierrez is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MelodyGutierrez