OAKLAND – In response to Governor Jerry Brown’s unveiling of his proposed 2017-18 budget, Centro Legal de la Raza (Centro Legal) issued the following statement on behalf of Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis, Immigration Program Director:

“We are heartened that Governor Brown mentioned working with the legislature to find a careful and thoughtful approach to protecting California’s immigrants. When questioned about funding for legal representation for California immigrants, Governor Brown appeared open to building on existing resources for immigrant integration to address future challenges, such as the likelihood of mass deportation under the Trump administration. With the Due Process for All Act introduced in December, California has the opportunity to lead the nation in ensuring that everyone receives fair treatment in our courts and no one is forced to face permanent exile from the U.S. without competent legal counsel.

As the governor and legislature move forward with budget planning, we urge them to prioritize legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and protect fundamental rights of the many immigrants that call our great state home.

The Due Process for All Act, introduced by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), is the last line of defense to prevent the unjust deportation of immigrants who are deeply rooted in our lives and communities.

While immigration law has been compared to the tax code in its complexity and the government has a prosecutor representing it in every case, it remains one of the only areas in American law where individual liberty is at stake, yet people are forced to navigate a grueling legal maze alone.

At Centro Legal, the largest provider of free deportation defense in Northern California, we are frequently reminded of the positive impact that competent legal counsel has on immigrant families. Just ask 27-year-old Rosendo, who has been living in California’s Central Valley since he was a young child. Rosendo was released in late December after Centro Legal took on his case pro bono earlier last year. Rosendo is now finally reunited with his family and community, having been detained by ICE for over 3 years. Without high-quality legal representationCalifornians like Rosendo would be robbed of their basic due process rights.

We look forward to working with the legislature and the governor to make due process for all a reality.”