Attorney General Bonta Calls on Congress to Fund Civil Legal Assistance

April 29, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

 OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a broad, bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general in submitting letters to U.S. House and Senate leaders urging them to fund the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in full. LSC is funded by federal appropriation and is a critical compliment to state and other funding for legal aid. LSC provides civil legal services to low-income Americans across the United States.

“As the People’s Attorney, I share a commitment to the equal access of our justice system and understand the barriers that low-income families can face when trying to access legal services,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The Legal Services Corporation provides on-the-ground legal assistance to Americans experiencing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including our country’s Native American communities, individuals with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, survivors of natural disasters, and undocumented folks. I sincerely urge Congress to support our neighbors and prioritize investment in The Legal Services Corporation.”

Since its establishment by Congress 50 years ago, LSC has provided civil legal services to low-income Americans across the United States who otherwise would not have access to such services. LSC is funded by federal appropriation and the amount of the investment will determine the number of Americans in need that LSC will be able to assist. Each year, LSC provides grants to local nonprofits who together provide legal services to low-income individuals throughout the United States from approximately 900 offices nationwide, stretching from urban centers to small towns. However, despite 94% of federal dollars going directly toward eligible nonprofits delivering civil legal aid, the need for legal assistance is outpacing LSC's funding.

In submitting the letters, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A copy of the letters can be found here, and here

California Attorney General Bonta Demands Records: Florida Authorities Owe Us Answers Over Deceptive and Immoral Migrant Transports

June 14, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Today's record request is part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation into the transport of 36 asylum seekers to California

SACRAMENTO – In a crucial move to unearth the circumstances under which 36 migrants were recently transported to California, Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a public records request to the Office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management. These inquiries are part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation into the conditions under which the migrants seeking asylum were brought into California pursuant to Florida’s so-called “Voluntary Migrant Transport Program.”

 "Upon meeting with the asylum seekers who had been flown to Sacramento via private plane, without any prior arrangements or immediate care provision, we understood the urgent need for a thorough investigation," said Attorney General Bonta. "These letters represent our commitment to transparency and justice. We need to understand the circumstances that led to the implementation of this operation – which was apparently paid for by Florida taxpayer dollars – and the decisions and directives that led to this questionable act. The information gathered will be crucial in determining whether the law has been violated and, if so, what subsequent steps are required to prevent such disregard for human rights from recurring.”

 On June 2, and June 5, two separate groups of asylum seekers were transported from Texas to New Mexico, and then flown to Sacramento, California. Those who arrived on June 2 were left at the door of the Catholic diocese in Sacramento. These individuals were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida and its "Voluntary Migrant Transport Program," which contracted with Vertol Systems Company, Inc., to carry out the transport. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) swiftly launched an investigation into the circumstances by which these individuals were brought to California, who funded their travel, and whether these individuals were given false information –– especially as many of the asylum seekers already had immigration proceedings underway. The DOJ investigation seeks to determine whether potential criminal and civil action is warranted. 

Today, Attorney General Bonta has dispatched the two letters formally seeking records under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, a law that ensures public access to governmental records, with the intention of shedding light on the operations and decision-making processes that culminated in these migrant transports.

Specifically, the requests focus on:

  • Communications between the Florida Governor’s office or the Florida Division of Emergency Management and any private entity involved in the migrant transports.
  • Any instructions or orders given by these offices to any private entity involved in the transports.
  • Communications between these offices and any migrant related to the transportation to California.
  • Communications between these offices and the Florida Department of Transportation regarding these transports.
  • Any records related to the transportation of migrants into California, including those that originated in El Paso, TX, and arrived in Sacramento, CA on June 2, 2023, and June 5, 2023.
  • Unredacted versions of all bids or proposals submitted in response to Request for Proposal No. RFP-DEM-22-23-028, including communications and contracts related to the said proposal.
  • Communications and any instructions or orders provided by these offices to entities involved in the transportation, including but not limited to Vertol Systems Company, Inc., and Berry Aviation.

The California Department of Justice will utilize the obtained records to aid the ongoing investigations. Meanwhile, California remains steadfast in offering dignified treatment to migrants. Attorney General Bonta is committed to upholding justice and the rights of all individuals within California's jurisdiction.

A copy of the letters sent to the Governor of Florida and Florida Department of Emergency Management can be found here and here.                                               

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Releases Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in U.S. v. Texas

June 23, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released the following statement on the Supreme Court's 4-4 ruling in U.S. v. Texas, sending the case back to the lower court and maintaining the freeze on President Obama's deferred action programs that would have protected millions of immigrants from deportation.

"I am deeply disappointed in today’s Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Texas. As a nation, we must not accept a status quo in which families continue to be ripped apart.  We must not accept a status quo in which hard-working immigrants are demonized. And we must not accept a status quo in which millions of our friends and neighbors are living in the shadows. 

While today's ruling is a setback, it's not a defeat. Now, more than ever, Congress needs to put divisive political games aside to pass comprehensive immigration reform and finally allow relief and dignity for millions of American families."

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Joins Washington State in Filing Amicus Brief to Ensure Unaccompanied Minors are Guaranteed the Right to Counsel

March 11, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES - Today, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris joined Washington Attorney General Robert W. Ferguson in filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case J.E.F.M v, Lynch, to ensure that every unaccompanied minor placed in immigration proceedings is guaranteed a right to counsel.

“Children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. A child forced to navigate our complicated immigration system should be provided with due process,” said Attorney General Harris. “For these children, adequate legal representation can mean the difference between life and death. We must live up to our nation’s principles of justice, equality, and fairness, and guarantee the right to due process for children seeking safety within our borders.”

The brief argues that children are unfairly hindered by age and lack the personal and financial resources to navigate the federal immigration laws and represent themselves in adversarial removal proceedings. Given the complex nature of immigration proceedings, failure to secure counsel can effectively deny an unaccompanied minor her day in court.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), which issued a report in July 2015 on this issue, “[t]hese children, many of whom entered the United States during the unprecedented ‘surge’ in 2014, are now facing adversarial removal proceedings opposed by experienced government attorneys, with only about 32% represented by counsel.” The ABA also emphasizes that it is extremely unlikely for an unrepresented child to prevail in immigration court without representation, citing a study which found that children represented by an attorney have a 73% success rate in immigration court, compared to only 15% among unrepresented children.

Facing deportation without adequate legal representation can easily condemn a defenseless child to prolonged detention or forced return to a dangerous country. In fact, as the brief acknowledges: “At least eighty-three deportees from the U.S. have been reported murdered upon their return to Central America since January 2014. One teenager was murdered in 2004 only seventeen days after being deported.” Such grave consequences weigh heavily in favor of mandating government-appointed counsel in cases such as these.

In 2014, tens of thousands of children fled violence and poverty in Mexico and Central America in pursuit of a better life in the United States. In response to the crisis, Attorney General Harris secured millions of dollars and over 10,000 hours in pro bono work to close the legal services gap for unaccompanied children across California. She later supported legislation signed by Governor Brown that allocated $3 million to qualified non-profits to provide legal services for unaccompanied minors. In May 2015, Kids in Need of Defense’s (KIND) awarded Attorney General Harris with the 2015 Vision Award for her work to ensure that unaccompanied minors fleeing violence and entering the U.S. are provided legal representation in immigration proceedings.

Since 2014, Attorney General Harris has convened several roundtables with immigrant rights’ advocates, legal service providers, major international law firms, and other stakeholders to discuss the ongoing need for resources and legal aid for children fleeing violence and seeking refuge in the United States. The most recent convening took place in Los Angeles in December 2015 to discuss the ongoing struggle to meet the legal and social service needs of unaccompanied children and families in California, and across the U.S.

In February 2015, Attorney General Harris created the Bureau of Children’s Justice to enforce criminal and civil laws to hold those who prey on children accountable; work with local, state, and national stakeholders to increase support for vulnerable children; and identify and pursue improvements to policies impacting children.  One of the Bureau’s core priorities is human trafficking of vulnerable youth, including foster children.

PDF icon Final JEFM Amicus Brief.pdf203.18 KB

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Consumer Alert Warning of Retailer Fraud and Scams Targeting Immigrant and Limited English Proficient Consumers

March 9, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to warn Californians of retailer fraud and scams that are targeting immigrant and limited English proficient (“LEP”) consumers. Numerous complaints filed with the California Department of Justice describe predatory actions of some retailers on consumers who lack credit and/or fluency in English.  In light of this reported consumer threat, the Attorney General reminds immigrant and LEP consumers to be careful in accepting retail contracts or credit card agreements, and encourages individuals to ask for help from appropriate consumer protection agencies when retailers engage in unfair or deceptive practices.


Common scams that affect communities with limited English proficiency include “store credit” and false warranties scams.  Californians eager to build their credit may be targeted by retailers who offer to sell them products with a small down payment and with the rest of the amount financed through “store credit.”  This type of agreement often traps consumers into contracts with high interest rates and other unfavorable terms.  Dishonest retailers may also sell defective products that they later refuse to exchange or repair, even if the customer has purchased a retailer warranty.  These types of scams can result in customers being forced to continue making payments on defective items or risk ruining their credit and being sued by the retailer.     


Immigrant and LEP consumers should be aware that the California Translation Law[1] protects their rights. This law requires retailers who negotiate in Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean, either orally or in writing, to provide a contract translated in the language used for negotiation to customers.  The translation must be accurate and must include every term and condition in the contract or agreement.  If a retailer negotiates in these languages and does not provide a translated copy of a contract before it is signed, a customer may rescind the contract.  This law was passed to protect the rights of millions of California consumers who do not speak or read English as a first language and who are entitled to be fully informed regarding the terms of their contracts.  This consumer alert offers tips for safeguarding immigrant and LEP consumers who may be targeted by unscrupulous retailers.    

What to look out for

The Attorney General offers California consumers the following tips in order to protect themselves from retailers who may be engaging in improper practices:

  • Before making a purchase, research a retailer’s reputation by searching online for reviews and any potential consumer complaints regarding prior fraud or scams. 
  • Do not allow a salesperson to pressure you into purchasing an expensive item, an add-on item, or any warranty that you do not want.  Be wary of offers in which retailers agree to sell you an item at a discounted price only if you also purchase an expensive warranty or insurance.         
  • Request and read a paper copy of your contract before you sign any documents, even if the retailer intends for you to sign the contract electronically.  Do not allow a salesperson to pressure you into signing anything before you see and understand the terms of your contract.
  • If there is something you do not understand about your contract, ask the sales representative for clarification.  Be sure that you are aware of all the goods and services listed on your contract, the total amount due, the number and dollar amount of your monthly payments, and the interest rate you will be charged. 
  • If you negotiate with a sales representative in Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean, the retailer must provide you with a copy of your contract in the language in which you communicated before you sign the agreement. 
  • Before purchasing a retailer’s warranty for an electronic device or an appliance, ask to see the full warranty terms in writing.  Consider whether you need a retailer’s warranty, and confirm the coverage and length of the manufacturer’s warranty on the product (the manufacturer’s warranty is usually included in an item’s price).  Ask about the coverage provided by the retailer’s warranty, any fees associated with use of the warranty, exclusions, and how repairs are handled.    
  • Ask about the return and exchange policy prior to making your purchase.  Make sure to read a written version of the return and exchange policy, which specifies how long you have to return or exchange an item.
  • Retain copies of all documents associated with your purchase, including the contract, receipt, warranty information, return policy, manuals, monthly statements, and any other documentation you receive from the retailer.
  • Promptly examine the merchandise you purchased to make sure it is new (unless you intentionally bought a used item), functional, and in good condition.  Notify the retailer immediately if problems arise with an item.  Document your interactions with the retailer in writing so that a record exists regarding your attempts to resolve the problem.
  • Customers who are trying to build their credit should request a copy of their credit report from to make certain that their payments are being properly reported to the credit bureaus.      


The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides helpful information on how to build and maintain good credit at  It also offers guidelines on how to avoid scams and fraud at, and provides resources to consumers who have complaints at

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs also offers information to consumers at, and provides the opportunity to ask questions regarding consumer purchases at

The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation regulates industry standards, and provides information and resources for consumers at

What to do if you are the victim of a RETAILER scam

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers resources for those who have been the victim of a retailer scam.  If you have been the victim of a retailer scam, immediately file a complaint with the BBB at  

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs provides support for those who have been the target of a retailer scam.  If you have been a victim, you may file a complaint with LADCBA at

The California Department of Justice protects the rights of consumers and collects complaints on retailer fraud and scams in order to identify patterns of wrongful activity.  To submit a complaint to the California Department of Justice regarding a retailer’s wrongful behavior, please use one of the following complaint forms:


En Español


Tiếng Việt:

Translated releases:






[1] Cal. Civ. Code §1632.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, 16 Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Reverse Lower Court Decision on Executive Actions on Immigration

March 8, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California has joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of United States v. Texas, urging the Supreme Court to reverse an injunction upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The injunction prohibited the federal government from putting into effect President Barack Obama’s immigration directives that were announced in November 2014.

“President Obama has proposed common sense actions on immigration, which will allow millions of hard-working immigrants to come out of the shadows, contribute to the prosperity of this nation and build their American Dream,” said Attorney General Harris. “I urge the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision, and allow these important immigration actions to move forward.”

This is the fifth multi-state amicus brief that Attorney General Harris has joined in this case, including the friend-of-the-court brief filed in December 2015 supporting the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review this case. Now that the Court has agreed to hear the case, in this brief the signatories urge the Court to reverse the lower court’s decision. The brief, signed by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and authored by Washington State, asks the Supreme Court to lift the injunction and allow the programs to move forward.

The multi-state brief argues that the President’s immigration directives will benefit the States and further the public interest by allowing qualified undocumented immigrants to work legally and better support their families. This will increase State tax revenue, enhance public safety, and help avoid tragic situations in which parents are deported away from their U.S. citizen children, who are left to rely on State services or extended family. These considerations demonstrate that there is no irreparable injury to the plaintiff States, and that the balance of hardships and public interest strongly favor allowing the directives to proceed without a preliminary injunction.

The brief stresses the overwhelming merits of President Obama’s immigration actions. Reversing the lower court’s decision will allow approximately 5 million people, including 1.2 million Californians, to apply for protection from deportation and work authorization. If enacted, policies designed to strengthen the security of California and the nation will enter into effect, such as requiring eligible individuals to submit biometric data, pass criminal and national security background checks, pay taxes, and meet the specific requirements for the deferred action program, including having resided in the U.S. for at least five years. The federal policies would also expand a preexisting program for certain immigrants who came to the United States as children.

A copy of the brief is attached to the electronic version of this release at

UPDATE: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Univision Los Angeles, SEIU CA to Hold Statewide Public Forums on How to Avoid Immigration Services Scams and Apply for Citizenship

January 27, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the kick off of a series of statewide public forums in partnership with Univision Los Angeles, the Service Employees International Union of California and iAmerica to provide Californians applying for U.S. Citizenship with information on the application process and how to avoid immigration services fraud.  

The forums are a continued effort by the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section (CRES), which last year hosted and presented at forums across the state to warn immigrant communities of scams targeting immigrants and con artists perpetrating immigration services fraud. At the forums, CRES will also educate attendees about wage theft, a crime that is often targeted at immigrant populations.

"The first step to protecting immigrant communities from scams is to provide education on how to avoid them,” said Attorney General Harris. “These forums are a crucial opportunity for immigrants to learn about the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship and learn how to avoid becoming a victim of wage theft and immigration services scams.”

The public forums will be hosted in eight California cities including: Los Angeles, Riverside, Fresno, Sacramento, San Jose, San Marcos, Oakland and Modesto. The statewide public forums will provide community members an opportunity to receive information about the citizenship process, set up an individual appointment for free assistance with citizenship applications, and hear from the Attorney General’s Office on how individuals can avoid being a victim of immigration services scams and wage theft.

“SEIU members are proud to partner with Attorney General Harris to protect Californians and aid immigrant families in achieving their dreams of U.S. Citizenship,” said SEIU California President Laphonza Butler. “Together we are working to break down barriers that stand in the way of immigrants initiating their pathway towards citizenship. We hope that the steps we are taking as a community will help empower the close to 2.5 million immigrants eligible to naturalize in California initiate the process and make their voices heard in our nation’s democratic process.”

Information about more upcoming forums will be announced in the coming days.

April 30, 2016
SEIU 721
6177 River Crest Dr. #B
Riverside CA, 92507


Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 9AM to 1PM
Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Church
5250 Central Ave
Riverside, CA 92504

Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 9AM to 4PM
Glad Tidings Church-North Campus
27689 Tyrrell Ave.
Hayward, CA 94844

Los Angeles:
Saturday, January 30 from 9AM to 2PM
Mendez High School
1200 Plaza Del Sol E
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Major changes to United States immigration policy, like those contained in President Barack Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions announced in November 2014, often lead to con artists emerging to prey on vulnerable consumers seeking help with immigration services.

Attorney General Harris issued a consumer alert informing Californians of these scams and providing tips to help consumers protect themselves. In addition, the Attorney General issued a consumer alert informing Californians about possible scams targeting immigrants attempting to obtain a driver’s license under Assembly Bill 60 (Alejo, 2013).

On December 3, 2015, California, along with 15 other States and the District of Columbia, joined an amicus curiae brief authored by the State of Washington supporting the United States’ petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, to overturn a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration. The court granted review and it will hear the case later this term. The States’ brief argued that, by preventing these policies from going into effect, the injunction harms States by preventing undocumented immigrants from working and generating taxes, by decreasing public safety, and by creating social harms such as displacing the undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children. 

For additional information regarding these forums please contact SEIU's media contacts:

English Language

Michael Roth

Email: Phone: 916-444-7170

Spanish Language

Maria Elena Jauregui

Email: Phone: 818-355-5291


Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Hearing Case on President’s Executive Action on Immigration

January 19, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Texas case evaluating President Obama’s immigration program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), this term. 

“Today is a great day for California and the entire nation.  The Supreme Court’s decision to grant review in United States v. Texas means that millions of hard-working immigrants – including 1.2 million Californians – will finally have their day in the Supreme Court.  DAPA and expanded DACA, which were a lawful exercise of the President’s authority, will bring law-abiding immigrant families out of the shadows, boost our economy, and make communities safer.  I urge the Court to restore the rule of law by unfreezing these programs and giving millions of immigrants the justice they deserve.”

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Statement on Federal Immigration Raids

January 14, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a statement on recent federal ICE immigration raids targeting Central Americans.

“The deportation raids targeting the homes of immigrant children, mothers and families seeking refuge from unspeakable violence in Central America go against our nation's fundamental values of equality and justice for all. Rather than sending vulnerable women and children back to the same dangerous conditions they were forced to flee, our national interest is better served by preventing those who pose a public safety risk from entering our country. My office will continue to work with the legal community and immigration advocates to ensure that these families are given humane treatment and the due process the American system of justice promises.”

In response to tens of thousands of children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, Attorney General Harris led an innovative, multi-sector initiative that has secured millions of dollars and more than 10,000 hours in pro bono work to close the legal services gap for unaccompanied children across the state.  In 2014, Attorney General Harris also sponsored legislation signed by Governor Brown that provided $3 million to qualified non-profits to provide legal services for unaccompanied minors. 

Attorney General Harris has also issued consumer alerts and hosted a number of forums across California to provide immigrants and their families accurate information about President Obama’s immigration-related executive actions and tips to avoid predatory scams that delay and, in some instances jeopardize immigration relief.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Convenes Immigration Advocates, Law Firms to Provide Legal Support to Children Seeking Refuge in the U.S.

December 16, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today convened a roundtable in Los Angeles with major international law firms, immigrant rights advocates, legal service providers, and other stakeholders to discuss the ongoing need for resources and legal aid for children who have fled Central America to seek refuge in the United States. The roundtable was convened at the urging of immigration service providers who are still struggling to meet the legal and social service needs of unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge in California, and across the U.S.

Attorney General Harris and her office convened similar roundtables in the summer and fall of 2014, in response to the unprecedented influx of unaccompanied children arriving at our southern border from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  These roundtables matched law firms, foundations, and legal service providers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Fresno, to mobilize geographic-based responses to the crisis.

“We must ensure that children receive due process and access to justice as they navigate our complex immigration courts and seek asylum or other forms of immigration relief,” said Attorney General Harris. “Legal representation can mean the difference between life and death for these children.  Through the collaborative and dedicated work of law firms, legal service providers and advocates, we’ve been able to help many children, but far more work remains to be done.”

“Los Angeles has the second-highest number of unaccompanied minor children of any city in the nation—and continued violence in Central America creates new refugees each day. Through our Kinship Care Program and an incredible network of volunteer attorneys, Bet Tzedek helps refugee children who are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile status get access to shelter, healthcare, and education,” said Diego Cartagena, Associate Vice President, Pro Bono at Bet Tzedek. “Without our efforts and the support of the California Department of Justice, these children would show up in court without ever having spoken to an attorney. Bet Tzedek commends California Attorney General Kamala Harris for taking such an important stand to promote justice and to ensure that these children, and indeed all Californians, are given fair and complete access to the our judicial system.” 

“Attorney General Kamala Harris has been an extraordinary leader in the protection of children who have come alone to the U.S. in search of safety. She has showed compassion, a commitment to justice and fairness, and a creativity that is key to addressing the great needs of these children who are fleeing pervasive violence in Central America from which their governments cannot protect them,” said Wendy Young, President of KIND (Kids in Need of Defense).  “Through Attorney General Harris’s continuing efforts, many more children in Los Angeles will have attorneys to help them make their case for U.S. protection and be saved from being returned to danger. KIND is thrilled to be part of this vital effort.”

“Gibson Dunn feels honored to have had the opportunity to join California Attorney General Kamala Harris in addressing the humanitarian crisis posed by the thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America entering our country in search of safety, security and a chance at a future,” said Katie Marquart, Director of Pro Bono at Gibson Dunn.  “We have taken many of these children on as our pro bono clients over the last several years.  Each child has a unique story to tell, and our attorneys have appreciated the chance to help our clients tell their stories.   We are proud to stand with the California Attorney General, our colleagues and these children.”

“Thousands of Central American children traveling alone as well as entire families continue fleeing an epidemic of violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.  Many of these refugees are arriving in Los Angeles and face the daunting prospect of appearing in immigration court alone to navigate our complex immigration system,” said Judy London, Directing Attorney, Immigrants’ Rights Project, Public Counsel. “Public Counsel applauds the efforts of California Attorney General Kamala Harris to address this humanitarian crisis by working to insure that every child before an immigration court has counsel.  We are proud that California’s Attorney General is galvanizing the legal community to stand up for vulnerable refugees.”

In response to tens of thousands of children fleeing horrific violence and poverty in 2014, Attorney General Harris led an innovative, multi-sector response that secured millions of dollars and over 10,000 hours in pro bono work to close the legal services gap for unaccompanied children across the state.  Last year, Attorney General Harris also sponsored legislation signed by Governor Brown that provided $3 million to qualified non-profits to provide legal services for unaccompanied minors.

At today’s reconvening, legal service providers and California law firms committed new resources, including pro bono counsel, to close the legal services gap and assist children and their families in immigration-related proceedings in federal and state courts.

Over the last year, Attorney General Harris has also issued consumer alerts and hosted a number of forums across California to provide immigrants and their families accurate information about President Obama’s immigration-related executive actions and tips to avoid predatory scams that delay and, in some instances jeopardize immigration relief.