California, like other states, has certain immigration laws in place to protect both citizens and legal immigrants. These laws, however, have seemed by many as unfair in the treatment toward undocumented immigrants. One of these laws was recently revised and parts were stripped from the books after Governor Jerry Brown signed new immigration legislation earlier this month.

Proposition 187 was passed in 1994 and has had a significant impact on the lives of undocumented immigrants in California ever since. This law withheld much needed public services from immigrants who are living in the state without proper legal documentation. As the national debate over immigration reform continues with little result, however, local changes such as those offered in this new legislation are making small improvements in the lives of immigrants across the state.

The change to the current immigration laws would grant undocumented residents the access to health insurance, medical care and other necessary services, without the fear of being reported to immigration authorities. Other immigration changes recently seen in California include granting driver’s licenses, offering state-funded scholarships for higher education and approving other government benefits. All of the above are believed to be a significant step forward in immigration reform.

Immigrating to a new place can be exciting and frightening all at the same time. While local government officials are doing what they can to help undocumented immigrants in California, there is still a long way to go. Immigration policy will not change overnight, but every small step counts. Help is available to work through the immigration process and to ensure the rights of those coming into the country are being protected.

Source: governing.com, “California Repeals Unconstitutional Parts of Immigration Law“, Patrick McGreevy, Sept. 16, 2014