As tension grows between California and the federal government over the southern border, some state lawmakers want to create an agency specifically for immigrants and refugees.
California has the country’s largest immigrant population of 10 million. The state already offers several services across multiple departments and now lawmakers want to bring them all under one roof.
“At this time we provide services, everything from healthcare to kids, student financial aid to driver licenses, social services, legal services,” Assemblyman David Chiu said, “We want to make sure if you’re an immigrant or refugee it’s easy for you to access services from state government.”
The proposed bill would also establish a secretary of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to help lead the agency.
Chiu’s proposal comes as California continues to go head to head with the federal government on immigration.
Earlier this year, the state sued the Trump administration over a border wall, while San Diego County recently sued the administration over its asylum policies.
Chiu said, “It’s important for us to say, at this moment in history, at this moment of time when our immigrant communities are under assault, we’re going to defend them, we’re going to take care of them, we’re going to make sure their families thrive and succeed.”
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