It seems that the state of California is doing what the federal government cannot do in terms of passing immigrant friendly legislation. Over the last several months, California has made some important changes in their immigration policies that are set up to actually help illegal immigrants. These changes include some new measures that will help open state-funded scholarships to undocumented students, as well as a law that states that employers are not required to check immigration status via the federal E-Verify program. This is a major step forward in employment immigration law and making California a welcoming place for immigrants.
In early October Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 131 (previously reported on in this blog). This is the second part of what is known as the California Dream Act. The law will allow undocumented university and college students to apply for state-funded scholarships. The first part of the California Dream Act, AB 130, was enacted in July and it allowed undocumented students access to private scholarship funds.
The governor went even farther by recently signing a bill that prohibits California cities and counties from enacting their own laws requiring employers to check immigrant status via the federal E-verify program. He also signed AB 207, which requires California school districts to accept various types of documents as “reasonable evidence” that the school students meets residency requirements. And he signed AB 353, which limits various authorities’ ability to impound vehicles when the offense is simply not having a valid driver’s license.
While all of this is great news for those concerned about immigration issues, many people may still need assistance when it comes to things such temporary work permits, work visas and green cards. For those individuals, consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer may be the best option to take.
Source: The Huffington Post, “California ‘Bucks The Trend’ With New Immigration Laws,” Oct. 13, 2011