Bill Watch California Budget

CA Budget Includes Oversight of Immigrant Detention Facilities, Money for Representation in Immigration Proceedings

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) announced Friday that the CA Department of Justice will launch an investigation into conditions at immigrant detention centers in the state.

The state Justice Department will examine due process concerns and confinement conditions of immigrants held in CA facilities. The effort will be funded by a pot of $1 million in the $125 billion budget, passed by lawmakers last week. The Department of Justice is to return with a report on conditions by March 2019, followed by annual for the next 10 years.

“We need a clear understanding of the conditions of detention facilities housing civil immigration detainees,” Becerra said.

Since March, three people have died in the Adelanto Detention Facility run by the controversial private prison company GEO Group. The latest death at the facility—which has been accused of poor medical care—was that of Vincente Caceres-Maradiaga, 46, in late May. Caceres-Maradiaga collapsed while playing soccer and died on the way to the hospital. Before Caceres-Maradiaga, 32-year-old Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba was found hanging in his cell in March. The fourth inmate, Sergio Alonso Lopez, died of internal bleeding in April. (Read more about the deaths over at Mother Jones.)

A recent report by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found that detainees held in Orange County’s Theo Lacy Facility were served spoiled lunch meat, are forced to use moldy showers, and face overly harsh solitary confinement and other living conditions that violate national detention standards.

Nine other facilities in California—some city, some county, and some privately run—hold immigrant detainees. After Texas, California locks up the second largest number of people awaiting immigration hearings.

The budget will also bar local jails from signing new contracts or expanding current contracts for federal immigrant detention.

“America is a nation of immigrants, and whether you arrived recently or have lived here for generations, you deserve to be treated fairly under our Constitution and laws,” Lara added. “If the federal government won’t ensure the safety and humane treatment of people held in detention in California, we must do that job and stand up for human rights.”

Proposed legislation from Lara, SB 29, also known as the “Dignity Not Detention Act” would block local governments in California from entering into new contracts or extending old contracts with for-profit companies to detain immigrants. The bill also would require facilities holding immigrants to abide by Immigration and Customs Enforcement standards for lock-ups, including providing access to medical treatment, honoring the right to file grievances, and allowing visitation by attorneys and loved ones.

The California Senate approved SB 29, which heads to a hearing on the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary next.

Another bill, SB 630, would block local jails from accessing state funds for jail expansions and improvements if those jails are leasing out their beds—whether to the federal government for immigrant detention, or to other public or private lessees.

California lawmakers also approved a budget allocation of $45 million to provide legal assistance to undocumented immigrants. The largest chunk, $30 million, will go to the CA Department of Social Services to help immigrants apply for naturalization or deferred action. Twelve million dollars will go toward providing legal services to immigrants facing deportation without a lawyer. The last $3 million will fund a program that provides legal aid to unaccompanied minors.

Photo: Senator Ricardo Lara at the budget press conference. Credit: California Senate Democrats.


  • State tax dollars being appropriated to help “undocumented immigrants”. I know this is a more tactful way of saying illegal immigrant, immigration law breaker or criminal but it’s all the same.

    Amazing when one considers most other countries around the world are not as generous and liberal to those who scoff at their immigration laws.

    When is CA going to secede? Will the legislature make the call or will it be put to a vote by the people?

  • Also noteworthy is that the headline says “Immigration proceedings” but the article is about “illegal immigration proceedings,” a deliberate attempt to blur in the minds of the general public the distinction between “illegal” and “legal” immigration.

    Another name for that is “disinformation”–an effort to deceive.

  • Conspiracy, let me know if you start the process. I’ll sign up to secede. We can create a country with two, maybe three, states – CA, NY and maybe Mass. Let’s leave the crazy middle and south of the country to their own devices. I’m with you. And, if it wasn’t for the immigration laws of this country, which as recently as a hundred years ago practically did not exist, you and your family would not be here. Unless, of course you’re native.

    Cognistator, you are good. Nothing gets by you. You can probably get a job on trump’s communication team. It is amazing to me how much you guys whine about the site, but you cannot leave. You have a good eye, though. Take care.

  • After the election I received an E-Mail from CalExit calling on California to secede from the Union because, well, Trump won the Presidency.

    Then I found out that E-Mail was part of–get this!!–a Russian disinformation campaign.

    From ABC News:

    Other sources with the same information can be Googled

  • For the Google search suggested search words: Is Russia behind CalExit?

    There you’ll find the ABC News story, among others.

  • As usual cf uses a whole lot of words to say basically nothing. BUT no cussing, racial slurs, or sexual innuendo. Keep up the good work there little guy, baby steps, gotta crawl before you can walk.


    To the commenter who continues to try to post the same inappropriate seven-word question, which I continue to trash, please desist. This is your one and only friendly warning.

    Thank you in advance.


  • You’re truly hilarious. CA, NY and maybe MA become their own country? A 7th grader could point out the problem with that. Yeah, that will work, having part of the country on the east coast and part on the west coast, with the “Enemy” in between. That shit is so fucking imbecilic it’s breathtaking. Only a moron who is totally blinded by ideology and motivated by anger could even conceive of such a thing.
    Besides, you’re going to have a backlash of all the Democrats in the states between. If they lose the votes in CA, NY and MA, they’ll never be another Democratic POTUS. Your own party isn’t about to let it happen.
    But by all means, keep talking shit. It’s what you do. Unfortunately, you’re so unhinged right now you aren’t doing it well.

  • CF….. I could be wrong, but I think we live in a slightly different world from 100 years ago.

    Our immigration laws were different because there was very little to no threat of people coming here to fly planes into buildings.

  • Make it easy for everyone. Ship everyone that is illegal in the California State Prison system back to the country of origin. That will save a lot of money and reduce the prison population. This guy is an idiot…..

  • While there are few examples of a nation in which one region is geographicaly separated from another region by international borders, that alone does not rule out the viability of the concept.
    For example, try driving to anywhere in Alaska from a starting point anywhere in the lower 48 continental U.S.
    It can’t be done without crossing an international border and making a long drive on the roads of a foreign nation.

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