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Insights: Bill to Reduce Childhood Poverty; Immigration Bills on Watch

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March 10, 2017

CA Immigration Bills on Watch

In response to the national traction on immigration issues, this Session has seen the introduction of several California immigration bills. The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has decided to support two in particular, and is examining several others that have the potential to impact immigration in the State in significant ways. 

The CCC is supporting Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), the California Values Act introduced by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. SB 54 establishes “safe zones” that would prevent U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from enforcing deportation charges. The bill would that require California schools, hospitals and courtrooms to adopt policies that would limit immigration enforcement on their premises.  

“To the millions of undocumented residents pursuing and contributing to the California Dream, the State of California will be your wall of justice should the incoming Administration adopt an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy,” said Senator de León in a prepared statement.

Senate Bill 257 (SB 257) by Senator Richard Lara (D-Bell Gardens) would require that schools continue to allow the children of deported individuals admission even though they no longer meet residency requirements.

Senate Bill 6 (SB 6), the Due Process For All Act by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), which would create a state-funded program to provide legal representation for those facing deportation.

At a press conference to announce the bill, Senator Hueso, Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, said SB 6 and other related bills “send a clear message to undocumented Californians that we won’t turn our backs on them. We will do everything in our power to protect them from unjustified deportation. In California we embrace people of all walks of life who work hard and contribute to our economy and that won’t change now.”

Visit the www.cacatholic.org for the latest on these and other bills.

 

Bill Seeks to Reduce Childhood Poverty by 50 Percent

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) is closely monitoring and eager to follow Assembly Bill 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act, by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood).

AB 1520, which is sponsored by GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate Change, Engage), an organization initiated by the Daughters of Charity, commits the Legislature to a goal of reducing childhood poverty by 50 percent over the next 20 years and provides a comprehensive framework of research-backed solutions to achieve it. 

According to a study by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Equality, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4 percent with the poverty rate for children is even higher at 25.1 percent.  

In her statement, Assemblywoman Burke called California’s two million children who live in poverty “frankly embarrassing.”

“We have the sixth largest economy in the world, yet we have so many children living under the conditions of poor schools, unsafe neighborhoods, and a lack of economic mobility. No child should face these odds,” she said. “As a mother and an Assemblywoman, I cannot begin to fathom that we have accepted to have two million children living in poverty. AB 1520 will analyze current funding and create stronger responsibility mechanisms to ensure that we fully invest in programs that lift our families out of poverty and put the American Dream within their reach.”

AB 1520 requires the Legislature to invest in programs proven to significantly reduce child poverty including child care and early childhood education, home visiting programs, after school and summer programs, work force development, Medi-Cal expansion, affordable housing, expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit, CalWORKS increases, and Investment in Promise Zones.

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U.S. Bishops Chairman Says New Executive Order Leaves Many At Risk

Washington – The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, says that President Trump’s latest Executive Order still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk.

“We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban,” says Bishop Vásquez. “While we note the Administration’s efforts to modify the Executive Order in light of various legal concerns, the revised Order still leaves may innocent lives at risk.”

“The removal of one of the original seven predominately Muslim countries temporarily barred from entering the United States is welcome, but we are disappointed that the revised order maintains the temporary shutdown of the U.S. refugee admissions program, continues more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled into the United States this year, and still temporarily bars nationals from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States.”

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Bishops Speak Out on Health Care Debate

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is writing letters to members of Congress in reaction to the plan to revise the Affordable Care Act. In the letters, the Bishops write:

 “Health care is a vital concern for nearly every person in the country. Discussions on health care reform have reached a level of intensity, which is making open and fruitful dialogue difficult, even while most people recognize that improvements to the health care system are needed to ensure a life-giving and sustainable model for both the present and future. Given the magnitude and importance of the task before us, we call for a new spirit of cooperation for the sake of the common good. Legislation has just been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Bishops will be reviewing it closely.

“In a letter of January 18, 2017, Bishop Frank J. Dewane reiterated that “[a]ll people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they can afford, and it should not depend on their stage of life, where or whether they or their parents work, how much they earn, where they live, or where they were born. The Bishops’ Conference believes health care reform should be truly universal and it should be genuinely affordable.” Bishop Dewane also emphasized that “a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act ought not be undertaken without the concurrent passage of a replacement plan that ensures access to adequate health care for the millions of people who now rely upon it for their wellbeing.”

Read the letter in its entirety here.

 

On The Web:

·      Determine if you qualify for the California Earned Income Tax Credit by visiting www.CalEITC4Me.com. The CalETIC provides a rebate to low-income workers based on a percentage of their income. Unlike most tax credits, the CalEITC is refundable, and some may be eligible for refund of up to $4,824, depending on income and the number of children under their care. You can also look for free tax preparation assistance by visiting www.irs.gov.

·      The California Catholic Conference is continuing to review the more than 2,500 bills that have been introduced in the Legislature so far this session. Visit the CCC’s legislation page for the latest.

·      Also of Note: Ash Wednesday Statement on Immigration from the California Catholic Conference of Bishops (English or Spanish).

March 10, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 9

En Español