By Miriam Raftery
August 21, 2014 (Sacramento)—Over 50,000 unaccompanied minors fleeing Central America have streamed across U.S. borders, seeking help to escape desperate situations. Now some California lawmakers want to assure that kids facing a humanitarian crisis will receive full legal hearings to determine if they may be eligible for asylum, refugee status, or deportation. A new bill would provide $3 million to nonprofit groups to expand legal services for the children.
After visiting a detention center recently, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) told reporters, “I think we all came away with a feeling that these kids really needed our support, that it was about their safety, their due process, the ability to look beyond bigger political considerations and deal with a humanitarian crisis.”