Capitol Alert

What rights do detained immigrants have in California courtrooms?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers escort an arrestee from an apartment building in the Bronx during a series of early-morning raids on March 3, 2015.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers escort an arrestee from an apartment building in the Bronx during a series of early-morning raids on March 3, 2015. The Associated Press

Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning rundown on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up here.

Since President Donald Trump’s election in November, California Democrats have vowed to fight his promise of a crackdown on immigrants living in the country illegally – of which there are an estimated 2.3 million in the state. A major concern is the treatment of those who are arrested and face deportation proceedings.

A bill to establish legal aid for immigrants is already moving through the Legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon also wrote yesterday to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement demanding more information on a sweeping operation in Southern California earlier this month, including whether agency policy allows the 161 people detained access to lawyers.

Now the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to review due process rights for immigrants in California. The informational hearing, 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 of the Capitol, will include testimony on the challenges from Judge Dana Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, and proposals for action from defense lawyers and immigrant rights advocates.

WORTH REPEATING: “We’ve ignored some of the fundamentals for too long.” – Brian Kelly, Gov. Jerry Brown’s transportation secretary, on efforts to fix California’s roads

COMMITTEES COMMENCE: After months of patiently waiting, we have finally reached the point in the legislative calendar when policy committees begin to convene regularly to examine the thousands of bills that were introduced this session. The Assembly Public Safety Committee has got nearly a dozen on its agenda when it meets at 9 a.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol, including AB 41, which aims to speed up DNA testing of rape kits, and AB 222, which would reduce the penalties for using false citizenship documents. The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, 1:30 p.m. in Room 4203, will take up a handful of measures to provide funding and streamline approval for affordable housing.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: California Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte says Democrats are ruining California.

CUT IT OUT: While legislative attention around higher education is largely focused on proposed tuition increases pending at the University of California and California State University, private schools are trying to raise awareness about proposed budget cuts to state financial aid that would decrease the maximum grants their students can receive by $1,028, or 11 percent. The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities is at the Capitol today to lobby against the aid reduction. Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, and Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Marina Del Rey, will address students, administrators and educators representing 79 private institutions, 9:30 a.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria on I Street, before they head to the Capitol to visit with lawmakers.

BE PREPARED: Everyone needs to be ready when the big one hits – even elected officials. The California Highway Patrol and the Senate and Assembly sergeants-at-arms are jointly holding an emergency preparedness exercise at the Capitol today and encouraging all legislators, staffers and visitors to participate. When exactly it will take place, however, remains a surprise.

MUST READ: Taxes are on the table as push for California road funding intensifies

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff