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:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
– Mike V.