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State government

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra goes to court to defend state program helping unaccompanied minor immigrants

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of an unaccompanied minor immigrant who is fighting deportation.

The court filing urges a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to follow a process created by the state that helps give "Special Immigrant Juvenile" status to minors who immigrate to the United States and cannot reunite with a parent outside of the country because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

“California has a parens patriae interest in protecting the welfare of these youth and ensuring they can pursue potential claims for remaining lawfully in the country,” the brief said.

Becerra said there are potentially thousands of minors in similar situations.

“Imagine a child you know fleeing to our country because she was being abused, abandoned or neglected by her parents,” Becerra said in a statement Friday, a day after filing the papers. “As people, can we really turn our back on them? Californians have answered 'no' by passing laws that provide a clear and consistent process so that these children can seek refuge by obtaining legal status.”

Becerra said he filed the court papers at the invitation of the the Los Angeles Superior Court and the suggestion of the California Supreme Court.

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