There are many controversial social issues being discussed and debated on today's political stage. Among them is the topic of illegal immigration. Some people call for stricter rules regarding immigration and the path to citizenship. Others call for more lenient rules and more protections for immigrants. Both sides can agree that some sort of reform needs to take place.
Census data is now showing lower overall numbers of illegal immigration in this country, effectively ending sustained increases over a period of more than a decade. The peak numbers came in 2007, with 12 million undocumented immigrants entering. Last year, the immigration numbers showed only 11.1 million. California, one of the larger states to host immigrants, also posted either a decline or no change in their numbers.
The state of California has seen a shift in immigrant tolerance in recent years, highlighting a dramatic change in attitudes from almost 20 years ago. Based upon past patterns of voting, California was once quite intolerant of immigration. This is evidenced by a 1994 vote on Proposition 187, which barred undocumented immigrants from public schools and hospitals.
A new bill is again stirring up the immigration debate in California. The governor is currently considering a bill that would potentially allow area law enforcement the ability to limit their participation in the federal government's Secure Communities program. This program allows immigration officials to place deportation holds on undocumented immigrants who are detained by law enforcement officials. Legal representation for detainees who are in this situation could be a challenge.
A California man is battling to receive a license to practice law, but is being prevented from obtaining one by the government. Many immigrants seek out a work visa as a way to enter into the United States prior to applying for citizenship. In addition, recent changes may make it easier for some undocumented residents to gain lawful employment through work visas. In this case, although this man is in the country illegally, he put himself through law school and has passed the bar exam but may not be able to work as he intended to if the government wins their argument.
For many San Diego residents, the fear of being deported once they enter this country as an immigrant is enough to turn many people away from attempting to gain legal citizenship. Now, with a new policy, young immigrants brought to this country as children will be allowed to legally seek work permits and also apply for temporary protection from being deported. Hopefully this new policy will help encourage young people in fear of deportation and removal proceedings to continue to work toward their dream of U.S. citizenship.
Several undocumented immigrants are facing deportation and removal proceedings after being pulled over by Border Patrol agents. The vehicle was said to have aroused suspicion after the driver apparently attempted to avoid a highway checkpoint near the California city of Niland. The van was packed with 13 immigrants, suspected to be illegal. All the passengers in the van will likely be facing deportation and removal proceedings soon.
A California college athlete attempting to wade through the citizenship and naturalization process had a very close call with immigration authorities recently. The 19-year-old college student is an undocumented immigrant but is a top-ranked athlete at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. The woman had been sitting with her boyfriend at a local park when she was detained by a San Diego police officer. The woman was very nearly deported and is now seeking a way to speed up the citizenship and naturalization process due to her close call.
Immigration news has been all over the headlines in recent years. However, one particular case has not made the same kind of splash other stories have. A California man faced deportation and removal proceedings, but avoided deportation due to a little known intricacy in immigration law. This man recently became a legal resident because he entered the United States legally.
Many immigrants living in California want to become U.S. citizens. However, the path to citizenship can be long and treacherous. Fortunately California has laws to help those who are not yet citizens succeed. Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Dream Act into law. The act allows illegal immigrants to be considered for state financial aid toward community colleges and universities across the state. However, the California Dream Act was not backed by all.