By Jazmine Ulloa
California took another major step this week to protect immigrants, preventing detention centers from adding more beds and pledging to spend $1 million to make sure people have proper access to food, medical care and lawyers.
Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced that he would use the resources to launch a formal review to ensure all immigrants civilly detained in California are treated humanely and that their rights are respected.
“California will stand up even if some other parts of the country won’t,” said Becerra, who spoke at a San Francisco news conference Friday with lawmakers and immigrant advocates. “We have a right — in fact, we have an obligation — to make sure the people are afforded the treatment and respect that any of us would expect under the law.” ...
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) helped craft the state budget-related measure, which specifically places a temporary ban on local governments and law enforcement agencies from entering into, renewing or modifying a contract with the federal government to expand the number of beds used for people detained in civil immigration proceedings.
It dovetails with another bill by Lara that seeks to ensure detention centers in California meet national standards and would ban cities from contracting with private companies to detain immigrants on behalf of federal authorities. That proposal remains under discussion by the Legislature.
“We can’t fully stop what is going to happen at the federal level,” Lara said. “But at the very minimum, whether you are for immigration or not, we have to make sure there is proper oversight.”