By Megan Burks
The President’s Budget on Immigration and Refugees
President Obama released his 2013 budget proposal this week. It includes several changes for departments handling immigration enforcement and refugee assistance. Michael E. Hill, an immigration reporter on Capitol Hill, laid out the details this week.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement would see a 4 percent cut in funding, suggesting the administration wishes to scale back the number of undocumented immigrants being detained. The cut would mean 2,000 fewer detention beds for undocumented immigrants and a $40 million increase for alternatives such as in-home detention and GPS monitoring.
The President’s proposal also calls for an increase in funding for legal services for detained immigrants. A recent study found that less than half of all immigrants facing deportation have legal representation.
The President’s proposal isn’t without controversy. His allocation to ICE supports the full implementation of the widely contested Secure Communities program. It would decrease funding for 287(g), an optional program in which local law enforcement agencies check the immigration status individuals in local jails. Scaling back the program allows the government to focus on expanding Secure Communities, which is similar but can operate without permission from the state.
The President’s emphasis on Secure Communities represents a focus on interior enforcement instead of border enforcement. In line with the strategy, E-Verify would get $112 million (up $9.5 million) while border patrol would see just a slight increase in funding.
For refugees, the budget would benefit those currently living in the United States with a 5 percent increase in funding for resettlement services. The President also wants Congress to extend expired disability aid and Medicaid eligibility for elderly or disabled refugees.
The budget proposal is a bit stark for refugees outside of the U.S. It would cut funding for refugee admissions. The U.S. would welcome 3,500 fewer refugees under the plan.
The budget does, however, nearly double Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance funds, which provide aid for emergencies such as famine in Africa.
Follow Michael E. Hill @MicEvHill.
In Contraception Clash, Catholic Latinas Stray From Doctrine
KPBS reporter Adrian Florido talked to San Diego Latinas this week about President Obama’s mandate that employees of Catholic charities, hospitals and universities receive birth control coverage. Religious leaders have said the rule “violates the collective Catholic conscience.”
But many Latina’s beg to differ. Studies show nearly 100 percent of sexually active Catholic Latinas have used contraceptives.
“Contraceptives aren’t bad,” Amparo Gonzalez, 56, told Florido. “What’s bad is bringing a child into the world to suffer, to go hungry and sick, to not get an education. That’s worse. I love God, but it’s also my life. He gave it to me, but I make my own decisions.”
Follow Adrian Florido @adrianflorido.
Emerald to Launch Campaign Saturday
Councilwoman Marti Emerald is set to launch her campaign for the District 9 City Council seat 9 a.m. tomorrow at the City Heights Urban Village Performance Annex. The event will begin with an hour-long rally, followed by a neighborhood walk from 10 a.m. to noon.
Emerald recently moved to the newly drawn district from Tierrasanta. She currently represents City Heights with councilmen Todd Gloria and Tony Young. She is being challenged by Latino activist and Kensington resident Mateo Camarillo.
Follow Marti Emerald @MartiEmeraldSD.
Other Things I Tweeted
HealthyCal.org tracks Rise of Urban Agriculture in San Diego
City Council to Receive Proposed Ordinance to Ban Smoking in Housing Complexes
Southern Californians At Risk of Death From Air Pollution, EPA Says
Poor, Minority Residents Face Most Health Risks With Climate Change
Middle Eastern Refugees in California Suffer with PTSD
There’s a lot more you missed this week if you aren’t yet following @spkcityheights.