Governor Jerry Brown put his signature on several immigration related measures on Monday, which continues the trend that California has set relative to the rest of the country when it comes to its position on undocumented immigrants. The first measure which will take effect January 1st, was a bill that will ban the word “alien” from California’s labor code because it is seen as a derogatory term to describe people not born in the United States. Similar to the way many newspapers have stopped using the term “illegal alien”, the bill was an important step to modernize state labor law. Brown also approved legislation that will allow high school students who are legal permanent residents to serve as poll workers in California elections, in part to help with translation needs in an increasingly diverse voting population. Currently, students 16 and older may serve as poll workers, but they must be U.S. citizens, while adult poll workers only have to be lawful permanent residents.
Another measure passing was a bill barring the consideration of a child’s immigration status in civil actions involving liability. That measure, by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Echo Park, is in response to a lawsuit on behalf of more than 80 elementary school children against the Los Angeles Unified School District over alleged sexual misconduct by a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School. The School District argued in that case that immigration status of the children is relevant to determining the plaintiffs’ potential for earning money in the future. The bill signed by the governor clarifies that the immigration status of a minor child, under any applicable law, is irrelevant to the issues of liability or remedy. At North County Immigration we along with many in the Escondido area were happy to see these measures pass.