California lawmakers are expediting three bills in order to shield immigrants from deportation after the election of President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved a bill that would make state-funded immigration attorneys available for public defenders to consult with as they represent immigrants who may face deportation.
Angie Junck of the Immigration Legal Resource Center says it’s a complex area of law that not all defenders are prepared for. Even residents with visas can face deportation after accepting a plea deal on a misdemeanor charge.
"It’s very hard to keep up with it," Junck says. "So we feel there is a great need across the state to be able to resource public defenders who have high-volume caseloads to be able to understand the law and effectively advise their clients."
The measure doesn’t yet specify a funding level, but it passed its first vote without opposition. The committee’s two Republicans did not vote.
The other two bills that Democratic leaders are fast-tracking after President Trump’s election began advancing through the state Senate last week.