Governor Newsom Includes $8 Million for Asylees and Vulnerable Noncitizens in New California State Budget
California leads the nation in setting an example for other states on welcoming immigrants and investing in welcoming infrastructure
LOS ANGELES - The California Welcomes Coalition applauds Governor Gavin Newsom for including an $8 million allocation in the larger state budget to fund the new Enhanced Services for Asylees and Vulnerable Noncitizens (ESAVN) Program to provide case management services for the specified populations in the state. California is the first state in the nation to introduce case management services for asylees and vulnerable noncitizens. With this development, California - home to 34 percent of all new affirmative asylees in 2019 - sets an example for the rest of the country on immigration leadership and approaches to asylum.
Introduced by California Assembly Member Calderon, and cosponsored by Assembly Members Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Chiu, Gabriel, Gonzalez, and Levine, and Senators Becker, Glazer, Hertzberg, Hueso, Newman, and Wiener, this long-awaited new budget will provide crucial support to new immigrants. The program will be implemented by the State Department of Social Services, and increase the number of caseworkers specifically assigned to assisting asylees and vulnerable noncitizens to provide culturally competent and responsive case management for up to 90 days. Case management services under the program will include assistance in identifying and applying for all benefits for which the person is legally entitled, support in accessing and navigating the public benefits and health care systems, community connection and relationship building, English language instruction, employment training, job placement assistance, and professional re-credentialing and licensing application assistance.
The work of the California Welcomes Coalition over the past years — comprised of We Are All America along with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Council on American-Islamic Relations California (CAIR-CA), Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles - Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service (IRIS), International Institute of Los Angeles, International Rescue Committee, HIAS, Home for Refugees, and OXFAM America — proved essential to passing this crucial piece of legislation, having organized more than 75 California organizations to sign on to a public letter in support of the newly-funded program.
Find quotes below from representatives of California Welcomes member organizations on the Governor’s signature of the state budget with funds allocated to the ESAVN program:
“As an immigrant and the daughter of refugees from Iran, I understand the sacrifices and hardships of settling into a new foreign country. It was important to develop a program in California that would work to provide the same resources and opportunities for those who would have otherwise not qualified. We Are All America applauds the inclusion of the $8 million budget attached to AB 1368 to provide life-changing services to some of our most vulnerable neighbors in California,” said Anahita Panahi, California Refugee Organizer at We Are All America.
"This new investment is another important step forward in California's commitment to immigrant integration. Investing in case management assistance for asylees and other vulnerable immigrant groups will help to ensure that their experience in their new communities is supported in a meaningful way," said Joseph Villela, Director of Policy and Advocacy at CHIRLA.
"CAIR-CA is incredibly excited to see California fund the Enhanced Services for Asylees and Vulnerable Noncitizens budget ask. Ensuring our asylees have culturally competent case management will not only lead to greater self-sufficiency for the asylees themselves, but also put California at the forefront of immigration services policy. We are undeniably proud to be a part of We Are All America's efforts, with over 75 other organizations from a number of faith and ethnic backgrounds in California, to be pushing California to the forefront of this issue," said Hussam Ayloush, CEO at CAIR-CA.
“This program is both the culmination of years of advocacy on behalf of asylees and trafficking and crime victims in California and inception of their new opportunity for life-changing assistance, which will help them build a strong and productive foundation in this state. The International Rescue Committee is deeply grateful to Governor Newsom and his administration for their vision in realizing this achievement,” said Martin Zogg, Executive Director at the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles.
“The International Institute of Los Angeles applauds Governor Newsom’s signing of the $8 million into California’s budget to provide support to help vulnerable immigrants establish themselves in their new country with dignity and worth as human beings,” said Cambria Tortorelli, CEO at International Institute of Los Angeles.
"Home for Refugees USA backs California to lead the nation in providing supportive case management for its asylees and vulnerable noncitizens as our new neighbors seek to get a good start and become integral contributors to California’s communities and a growing economy,” said Minda Schweizer, Executive Director at Home for Refugees USA.
“HIAS applauds Governor Newsom and the Legislature for their groundbreaking $8 million investment for asylees and vulnerable noncitizens in California. These visionary leaders put our shared Jewish and American values of welcoming the stranger into action by creating the first-of-its-kind state-level empowerment of our neighbors as they build new lives in communities across California,” said Joe Goldman, Community Engagement Director - Western Region at HIAS.