Immigration policy is certainly a hot topic with U.S. lawmakers. With some pushing for border protection and deportation, others are looking for ways to provide the over 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country a pathway to citizenship. While overwhelming immigration reform has not been reached, smaller steps are being proposed to assist those in this situation, which could positively affect many California residents.
One of the leading labor unions in the United States said recently that illegal immigrants should not have to be afraid about speaking out against unsafe working conditions. Leaders of the AFL-CIO say that changes are needed in deportation policies so that people are not afraid to report dangerous work situations -- regardless of their citizenship status. The recommendation was part of a list released recently that offered a look at the union's stand on immigration policies and how they affect the workforce.
A citizen of the United States cannot be detained and placed in jail without probable cause. He or she is entitled to certain rights under the constitution. In sharp contrast, some immigration authorities in California as well as other states have made a practice of asking that individuals who are believed to be immigrants be held in jail after they should have been released.
Readers of this blog may be interested in an update on the case of a conscientious objector in California who was initially denied citizenship ("California woman's citizenship and naturalization efforts denied," March 5). The woman said that, even if she acquired citizenship, she would not be willing to bear arms to protect the United States. She said that her personal convictions and beliefs would not allow her to participate in violence against others.
When someone is applying to be a United States citizen, they retain the right to express their views on war and other topics that might be seen by some as controversial. If they feel it is immoral or unethical to participate in a military effort, it should not affect their citizenship and naturalization efforts. For one California woman that is directly the opposite of what happened.
The rights of undocumented immigrants are expanding in California with a newly-enacted law concerning driver's licenses. Starting in 2015, the new law gives immigrants living in California the right to apply for a valid driver's license. This will be possible regardless of the applicant's immigration lawclinic.com/Family-Based-Immigration/">citizenship status.
The Secretary of Commerce spoke recently at a California event and proclaimed her belief that immigration reform must be a top priority if America is going to flourish. The Secretary, whose family came to the United States from Russia years ago, said the issue has moral as well as economic ramifications. She said she believes immigration reform will bring economic opportunities for everyone.
California readers are likely well aware of the difficulties that many immigrants to the United States face after first entering our borders. For many people, citizenship and naturalization can take months or even years to process and be applied to them. For one California man, more than two decades have passed since his father submitted a petition for a visa for him. A backlog of such applications resulted in the man never receiving a visa. Fortunately, the law has been on this man's side, as he recently has achieved his dream of practicing law in the United States.
In light of reform to immigration laws, there are some changes that are set to take place. As of 2014, illegal immigrants will be granted more protection and rights under new California immigration laws. One of the laws includes minimum wage being raised to $9 per hour.
President Obama has been involved in decreasing the amount of immigrants who are deported. Obama has been active in facilitating a change in current immigration laws. Obama has faced backlash from a number of California minorities, who claim that immigrants have been deported at extraordinary rates.