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Immigration Reform News: California Lawmakers Invest $55 Million to Improve Healthcare, DACA Applications for State's Immigrants

First Posted: Jun 17, 2015 03:22 PM EDT
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California lawmakers agreed to invest millions for the state's immigrant population, from health care, education, legal services and community integration.

In a statement released by Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo of Salinas County, chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, more than $55 million of the state's budget will be invested for the immigrant community. Alejo stated California has been leading the efforts of improving immigrant life while Congress continues to struggle.

"While Congress continues to shirk its responsibility to pass comprehensive immigration reform, California is once again leading the way with significant and meaningful investments towards improving the lives of immigrants throughout the state," said Alejo in a statement.

Alejo commended California Gov. Jerry Brown for his "steadfast leadership and support" for California's immigrants. As Pew Research Center noted, approximately 2.5 million undocumented immigrants live in California as of 2012, which equates to nearly 6.3 percent of the state's population.

"The Latino Caucus has a rich history of standing with California's immigrants, and [Tuesday's] budget reaffirms our trust in Gov. Brown and his commitment to helping our state's most vulnerable," added Alejo.

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The $55 million investment includes $40 million for immigrant youths under the age of 19, regardless of immigrations status, to enroll in Medi-Cal coverage. State Sen. Ben Hueso of San Diego, vice-chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, said the budget would expand access to health care to 170,000 undocumented children.

Nonprofit organization could qualify for $15 million-worth of investments to provide education, outreach and legal services for permanent legal residents eligible for U.S. citizenship and undocumented immigrants eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Accountability (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs. Funding will also be available for state agencies and departments to better integrate immigrants in communities and the workforce, while $3.5 million has been set to invest in the Office of Migrant Services Family Housing Centers.

"This is a sound, well thought-out budget," said Brown about the overall budget plan. "Yet, the work never ends and in the coming months we'll have to manage our resources with the utmost prudence and find more adequate funding for our roads and health care programs."

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