On Jan. 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom put forward a $209 billion state budget proposal that outlines his vision for the state. The bill includes a series of funding increases for the UC, which signal a welcome departure from former governor Jerry Brown’s more restrained appropriations. The governor’s proposal allocated $1.3 million for undocumented students’ legal services and $5.3 million for general student mental health services. Both the UC Office of the President and the UC Students Association have expressed that the bill is a solid first step toward addressing the larger funding issues that continue to plague the university.
Yet, while the increase is an improvement upon previous annual budgets, the funding is insufficient to fully cover legal services on all 10 campuses. At UC Berkeley alone, there are roughly 500 undocumented students. These legal aid services are aimed not just at them but at their immediate families as well.