Capitol Alert

VIDEO: Kevin de León tells immigrants, ‘We are human beings’

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León joined undocumented immigrants at the Capitol on Monday to call for justice and health care for “the most marginalized people in this great country.”

Leading a Spanish-language call-and-response, de León told advocates they must let lawmakers of both parties know that immigrants “are human beings, that we deserve respect and dignity.”

Democratic legislative leaders are pushing a package of bills this year to expand legal protections for immigrants living in California illegally, toplined by a proposal to expand access to health insurance. The program could cost anywhere from $175 million and $740 million annually, and was not included in Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget revise last week.

Following the rally, De León told reporters that he would continue to “convince the governor why, fiscally, it's the most prudent thing to do.” With tax revenues surging, he added, it’s a matter of priorities, rather than sacrificing other programs to find the money.

“It's a little tricky, no question about it, but it's a good problem to have,” he said. “I’m an eternal optimist.”

Alexei Koseff: (916) 321-5236, @akoseff

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