State legislators in California have stepped up recently and passed several practical and meaningful reforms that will improve the lives of immigrants and also help better integrate them. This month California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a host of new measures that include: drug law reform to limit the disproportionate impact of federal consequences including on immigrants, providing humanitarian relief for children and youth, ensuring the due process of law for immigrants, and protecting immigrant victims of crime. Once implemented, they will demonstrate significant progress toward strengthening California families and communities and cementing the state’s leadership position nationally for implementing effective immigration policies. Half of California’s children live in households headed by at least one foreign-born parent and undocumented immigrants comprise nearly 10 percent of California’s workforce.
AB 899 is the Juvenile Confidentiality Bill, which protects immigrant youth from fear of deportation by protecting their records from unauthorized disclosure to federal officials, including immigration authorities. AB 1343 requires defense attorneys to provide accurate advice to immigrants who interact with the justice system, while prosecutors must consider as one factor the potential immigration consequences of a criminal case. AB 900 makes sure as many immigrant children as possible have access to humanitarian relief. Lastly, AB 1352, ensures that immigrants aren’t punished a second time for crimes they have already served their time for.
We at North County Immigration hope that California continues to take steps such as these recent actions, and that other states soon follow its lead with smart immigration reforms.