Dear WestCoast Community,
Over the past year, nearly 63,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the Southwestern U.S. border. Many of these youth have fled gang violence and sex trafficking in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to seek refuge in the United States. In contrast to the Obama Administration’s proposal to speed up the deportation of these children, California has taken a markedly different approach.
On Saturday, Governor Brown signed a package of bills that will ensure that unaccompanied minors are not returned to the same life-threatening situations that they escaped. The legislation paves the way for young people to access the legal status they need to remain in the United States when there is a threat to their safety. It also provides $3 million for non-profits to provide legal assistance so that children have representation in their own proceedings.
“Helping these young people navigate our legal system is the decent thing to do and it’s consistent with the progressive spirit of California,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement. WestCoast supports California’s leadership for taking a stand in the immigration debate that affirms children’s right to safety and dignity.