California Lawmakers Attempt to Increase Oversight on the Detention of Immigrants

A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from his "segregation cell" back into the general population at the Adelanto Detention Facility on Nov. 15, 2013. (Credit: John Moore / Getty Images)

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.”

The measure, folded into the new state budget approved Thursday, would require the California Department of Justice to audit each facility annually and report its findings to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature by March 2019, with reviews until 2027. It is part of a wider effort by Democratic lawmakers to push back against the Trump administration and its pledge to increase deportations of those in the country illegally.

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