California attorney general asks lawyers to help immigrant children

SACRAMENTO Calif. Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:52pm EDT

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris speaks at the 2014 California Democrats State Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California, March 8, 2014 file photo.   REUTERS/David McNew

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris speaks at the 2014 California Democrats State Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California, March 8, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/David McNew

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SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - California's attorney general has personally asked several major law firms to provide pro bono services to unaccompanied immigrant children flooding the U.S. border with Mexico, a signal that California views the growing crisis as a humanitarian issue.

The move comes amid escalating political tension in the United States over how to deal with the thousands of children fleeing violence in their Central American homelands.

"We've convened a group of law firms to make sure these children, some of them as young as 8 years old, have access to due process," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said on Thursday.

Central American children began flooding the border at crossing points in Texas earlier this year, overwhelming local officials and leading the federal government to send thousands to other states for processing.

By the end of June, about 3,000 of the children had been sent to California, and more have come since.

In meetings in Los Angeles last week, Harris asked lawyers for some of the state's most prestigious firms to donate 500 hours of pro bono work to the children this year, spokesman Nicholas Pacilio said.

She asked corporate lawyers for entertainment giants including the Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Entertainment to do the same, he said, adding that most had agreed to help.

Harris' remarks came a day after California Governor Jerry Brown said California would "do its part" in the crisis, despite calls by anti-illegal immigration activists to speed up deportation proceedings.

Brown said California viewed the flood of children as a humanitarian crisis, rather than a political issue.

The influx of children at the border, mostly fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, has intensified the debate over immigration reform and overwhelmed U.S. authorities, who have been hard-pressed to find temporary housing for the young migrants as they await deportation proceedings.

On Tuesday, planning commissioners in the San Diego suburb of Escondido rejected a proposal to open a temporary shelter for some of the children.

Harris said there was much the state could do to help the children sent here, but that ultimately, immigration issues should be dealt with at the federal level.

She criticized Congress for failing to act on a stalled package of immigration reforms that would have included a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

"They've fallen short," Harris said.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (2)
morbas wrote:
One country under GOD has forgotten everything about Christianity. And due to our drug addiction money, WE are culpable.

Jul 24, 2014 10:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AdamSmith wrote:
Every four and one-half days (4.5 days) the world population increases by one million people. It is truly a population explosion. It is the poorest countries that are having babies the fastest, and at the youngest age of puberty.

And they are pouring out and inundating wealthier nations like the USA and Europe, clogging and undermining the vast middle classes of those more advanced cultures, already suffering mass unemployment and declining wages, utterly destroying them.

All the borders that have existed and have been enforced for a hundred years now give way to cellphone powered mass migration, utterly porous and meaningless.

Yes, every four and one-half days (4.5 days) the world population increases by one million people. They are coming to every street corner in your neighborhood if they are not there already.

Jul 25, 2014 10:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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