Outraged over President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban for seven Muslim majority nations, California Senator Kamala Harris says she called Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at his home to complain about a lack of legal counsel for detainees.
Asked what Kelly’s response was to the phone call at his residence, Harris deferred: “I’ll just speak about what I said, that I was very clear, that the detainees needed access to counsel,” she said.
The conversation was a precursor to her first piece of legislation, a requirement that immigration officials allow pro bono and other attorneys access to those caught up in any future immigration orders.
“This isn’t about the government paying for lawyers … it’s simply putting in law and making it clear that these individuals should have access to counsel if counsel is available to them.”
California’s junior Senator made the comments on NBC4's “News Conference” program Sunday.
In office for just over a month Harris has quickly become a leading advocate for immigrant rights. During his confirmation hearing, she grilled, then nominee Kelly, on his approach to the DACA program in which the Obama administration allowed the children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country and seek work permits.
When asked why she called the President’s immigration order a “Muslim ban” the Senator laughed … saying the intent of the order was obvious based on campaign comments by Trump.
“He has clearly targeted individuals based on their religion,” Harris said on the program.
Also appearing was California State Treasurer John Chiang who says he hopes to meet with White House staff this week regarding California's new cannabis law. Chiang says he is seeking a streamlining of federal banking regulations that would allow financial institutions involvement in what is expected to be a $7 billion industry.