2013: A Historic Year for the California Legislature

Today, California Governor Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., signed into law AB4, also known as the TRUST Act.  After having vetoed a similar bill last year, immigrant rights activists stepped up their efforts to pressure the governor to sign the TRUST Act into law this year.

Additionally, in what has to be a historic year in general, but even more so in regards to immigrant communities and the lack of action from Congress on the immigration reform front, Governor Brown also signed the following bills:

  • AB 4 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) – Prohibits a law enforcement official from detaining an individual on the basis of a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody, unless specified conditions are met.
  • AB 35 by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) – Provides that immigration consultants, attorneys, notaries public, and organizations accredited by the United States Board of Immigration Appeals are the only individuals authorized to charge a fee for providing services associated with filing an application under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s deferred action program.
  • AB 524 by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) – Provides that a threat to report the immigration status or suspected immigration status of an individual or the individual’s family may induce fear sufficient to constitute extortion.
  • AB 1024 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Allows applicants, who are not lawfully present in the United States, to be admitted as an attorney at law.
  • AB 1159 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Imposes various restrictions and obligations on persons who offer services related to comprehensive immigration reform.
  • SB 141 by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) – Requires that the California Community Colleges and the California State University, and requests that the University of California, exempt a United States citizen who resides in a foreign country, and is in their first year as a matriculated student, from nonresident tuition if the student demonstrates financial need, has a parent or guardian who was deported or voluntarily departed from the U. S., lived in California immediately before moving abroad, and attended a secondary school in California for at least three years.
  • SB 150 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – Authorizes a community college district to exempt pupils attending community colleges as a special part-time student from paying nonresident tuition.
  • SB 666 by Senator Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – Provides for a suspension or revocation of an employer’s business license for retaliation against employees and others on the basis of citizenship and immigration status, and establishes a civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation.

Source:  Press Release

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

California Legislation 2013

The current members of the California State Assembly and Senate began the 2013-2014 session under very unique conditions.  Although the state, and the nation for that matter, is steadily recovering from the Great Recession of 2008, Governor Brown’s management of the budget has alleviated a great deal of pressure and has allowed for improved prospects for this year and beyond.

In a time when much change is necessary statewide, we have been fortunately equipped with Democratic majorities in BOTH the State Assembly and Senate ,which ought to allow for more progressive and compassionate legislation.  Yet, we must always remain vigilant and communicate our needs and expectations to our elected officials.

In the current legislative session, bills that will affect our immigrant and undocumented populations include the following:

  • AB 4 (Ammiano) – TRUST Act
  • AB 60 (Alejo) – Driver’s Licenses
  • AB 263 (Hernandez) – Employer Retaliation (Immigration-Related)
  • AB 275 (Alejo) – Migrant Education
  • AB 1159 (Gonzalez) – Immigration Services
  • AB 1401 (Committee on Judiciary) – Jury Duty Eligibility
  • SB 23 (Lara) – Task Force on New American Integration
  • SB 141 (Correa) – Postsecondary Education Benefits (Children of deported or voluntarily departed parents)
  • SJR 8 – Joint Resolution in Support of Immigration Reform

AB 4  This bill would prohibit a law enforcement official (police) from detaining an individual on the basis of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody unless specific conditions are met.  This would disregard the Secure Communities Program (S-Comm) developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE.  Read more here.

AB 60  This bill would authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue driver’s licenses, other than commercial driver’s licenses, to an applicant who provides four specified documents that establish proof of identity, rather than providing a social security number (SSN) or other proof of legal presence in the United States.  For more details on newly eligible documentation, read here.

AB 263  Would make it unlawful for an employer to engage in unfair immigration-related practices against any person as retaliation for exercising Labor Code-related rights.  These practices include requesting additional or differing documents than are required under federal law, or the refusal to honor documents that reasonably appear to be genuine; using the federal E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of a person at a time or in a manner not currently authorized; threatening to file or filing a false report to law enforcement; threatening to contact immigration authorities.  This bill would also provide that an employee who was subjected to an adverse action is entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages.  It would also establish penalties for violation of this prohibition.  Read more here.

AB 275  This bill will make changes to the federal Migrant Education Program (MEP).  It is rather complex, please read more here.

AB 1159  This bill would establish minimum statutory requirements and regulations through the State Bar and Secretary of State for attorneys and immigration consultants who offer immigration reform act services.  This looks to provide adequate services once federal immigration reform passes and to protect applicants.  Read more here.

AB 1401 Simply put, this bill looks to expand the pool of individuals eligible for jury duty service beyond citizens to permanent legal residents.  Read more here.

SB 23  This bill establishes a 15-member task force and, by January 1, 2015, would:

  1. Require the task force to offer recommendations on protocols and collaboration among governmental agencies to streamline resources to assist immigrant integration; to offer recommendations on integrating immigrants into the state, including whether to establish an Office of New Americans;
  2. Require the task force, within six months after federal immigration reform is enacted to allow undocumented immigrants to change their legal status, to make recommendations for ensuring the state is ready to provide assistance pursuant to federal law;
  3. Stipulate that task force members not be compensated, but be reimbursed for their expenses to attend meetings, and requires the task force to meet at least four times annually and at least once within Fresno, Los ANgeles, San Diego, and San Francisco Counties;
  4. Sunset all of the above on January 1, 2018.

SB 141  This bill would exempt certain students from non-resident tuition charges at the state’s public higher education systems if they are U.S. citizens who live abroad due to their parents’ deportation.  Read more here.

SJR 8  Read the most current resolution language here.

* This list of currently active state legislation is by no means exhaustive and the summaries are understandably not comprehensive.

**For the most up-to-date information on what the California Legislature is working on, please begin your research at www.leginfo.ca.gov and read breaking news at www.rtumble.com.

– Mike V.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Phoenix Will Rise Once More!

Hello fellow Ideans and Supporters!

Unfortunately, this website has gone seemingly abandoned for too long– what can we say, social media provides easier upkeep and quicker response times.  However, it is my personal goal to get it up and running again, allowing it to be a resource for those looking for resources relating to the plight of our undocumented brothers and sisters.

In the last year-plus, much has gone down!  Firstly, a development which affected the upkeep of this site the most, and kept me away from it for so long, was the fact that I graduated from USC (woo!).

The process of achieving comprehensive immigration reform, on the other hand, has accelerated immensely in the last year.  President Barack Obama won re-election, the GOP were seemingly put in their place, and the national agenda become more progressive.  Or so, you would have expected.  Regardless of the Republicans’ relentless obstructionism, immigration reform came to the forefront of the national discussion!  We witnessed a heated debate in the Senate, which led to the passing of an imperfect reform in Senate Bill 744 (S744).  Presently, it is stalled in the House of Representatives (no surprise there!) and now faces an even steeper climb towards the president’s desk.

Organizationally, IDEAS Movement at USC experienced a tough time starting up again in the 2012-2013 academic year.  The biggest detractor to effective organizational efforts was the University’s misguided attempt to relocate our beloved El Centro Chicano.  Student Affairs and USC senior leadership were unmoved by the outcry of current students and alumni, ultimately deciding to move ECC from its historical and beloved location on the 3rd floor of the United University Church (UUC 300) to the more campus-central Student Union.

As a USC alumnus and former chair for IDEAS, I am excited to see what new opportunities are on the horizon for all USC students this coming academic year.  I look forward to being able to work with this year’s IDEAS membership and faculty adviser/ECC Director Billy Vela.  You guys know where to find me!

Look forward to some site updates real soon!

Sí se puede!  Fight On!

– Mike Varela

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Year 2.0 Commence!

It is truly amazing how much IDEAS Movement at USC has managed to accomplish BEFORE the new academic year even began!

For those who have been out of the loop, the executive board began organizing for this new year during the summer.  They were able to plan and organize, alongside CHIRLA’s California Dream Network, this year’s statewide retreat at USC (a first ever on a private campus for CDN and a first ever undocumented student event at USC)!

Just last weekend, IDEAS Movement at USC tabled at our first ever Project ReMix New Student Symposium, reaching out to new students earlier than ever before!

Finally, you will be able to see some of our hard work summarized into the undocumented student resource page that we put together for this year’s edition of the ECC Resource Handbook.  [Pick one up at El Centro Chicano today!]

Keep a look out for general meeting times and events in the near future.

Sí se puede!  Fight On!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Joining the Struggle at Any Capacity

We are now halfway into the summer and we wish that everyone has remained engaged in whatever they are passionate about.

As we keep in mind all that we have accomplished as a student organization and as individuals, looking into the near future of our academic, personal, and organizational lives, we cannot help but realize that although the issues that we choose to address are multidimensional and may be addressed in a multitude of ways, the most important thing to remember is that we MUST do what we can.

If you can volunteer some hours to help in any capacity — do so.  If you have limited free time on your hands for attending events and actions but spend a relatively lengthy time on Facebook or reading informative articles and blogs, spread the useful information.  If you hear about an opportunity, scholarship, event…share it with others.

The struggle does not become a successful movement unless there is a community that is willing to support each other in whatever way they can.

To sum this all up:  Get involved by doing something, don’t sit back and wait for change.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing everyone a fun, relaxing, and recharging Fourth of July!

The struggles for true FREEDOM and LIBERTY continue…never relent!

Sí se puede! Fight On!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National DREAM Movement Pressures Pres. Obama to Evolve on Deferred Action


Summary of the day’s articles of interest:

CHIRLA Press Conference

Bill O’Reilly on the immigrants’ side??

Undocumented youth “hacking” the political system

Protests lead to a new tone for immigration policy

The effect of Obama’s new stance on potential voters

Deported parents and their kids in the States

The Right Thing to Do

Organizations join to thank Obama

People Over Profits: Defeat of CCA, profiteers in the deportation business

Effects of the new immigration policy on higher education, workforce

Coverage in the Daily Trojan

DT – Letter to the Editor (not from IDEAS Movement at USC)

A look into the Republican mind…


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment