SACRAMENTO – The state Legislature today honored the millions of immigrants residing in California and the nation with resolutions that point out their leadership and “countless contributions” that have enriched our nation.
“The immigrant story is the American story and that story is nowhere better told than in California,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, himself the son of an immigrant. “As our state is one of great natural beauty and geographical diversity, its people too present a wonderful mosaic of races, cultures, and religious beliefs that have shaped California and made it into the seventh largest economy in the world.”
Added Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, “Immigrants helped build California, immigrants shape the California we know today, and immigrants will help propel California into the future. On behalf of my colleagues in the Assembly, I am proud to support Immigrant Heritage Month to honor the immigrants who are such an important part of our economy and culture.”
Declaring June 2015 as Immigrant Heritage Month, Senate Resolution 35 (Pan) and the identical House Resolution 25 (Medina) state that generations of immigrants have built our country’s economy, continue to expand businesses, create jobs, and bring unique cultures, heritages and experiences to America.
The resolutions continue: “Despite countless contribution of immigrants, we have frequently overlooked and undervalued the role of immigrants in building and enriching our nation, both throughout our history and in the present day.”
With their resolutions, the Assembly and Senate joined the White House in recognizing June 2015 as Immigrant Heritage Month.
Immigrants Shape California
In April, the Legislature introduced a 10-bill package to protect hard working undocumented immigrants from fraud, discrimination, lack of health care, and the unintended consequences of our criminal justice system.
Nine of the 10 “liberty and justice” measures that comprise the Immigrants Shape California bill package continue to work their way through the legislative process, while one has been signed into law. Below is a status update on the bill package:
AB 60 (Gonzalez) Protecting Immigrants from Fraud: This bill protects immigrants from immigration fraud as they seek help applying for the deferred relief under the President’s Executive Action.
Enrolled: 6/17/15 Chapter 6, Statutes of 2015
*SB 10 (Lara) Office of New Americans: Establishes office under the Governor’s Administration to ensure that California has a comprehensive approach to immigrant integration, including facilitating immigration relief options, naturalization services, and civic engagement efforts.
*The 2015-16 State Budget creates the position of Director of Immigrant Integration within the Governor’s Office.
*SB 4 (Lara) Health Care for All: Provides that all Californians, regardless of their immigration status, should have access to affordable health coverage and care.
*The 2015-16 State Budget includes $40 million to provide 170,000 undocumented immigrant children health care through Medi-Care.
AB 622 (Roger Hernandez) Protecting Immigrant Workers from Unscrupulous Employers: Stops unscrupulous employers from misusing the E-Verify system to intimidate workers.
Assembly vote: 50-25-5; Current Location: Senate Appropriations Committee
SB 600 (Pan) Protecting Immigrants from Discrimination: Makes it unlawful for business establishments to discriminate against a person on the basis of their immigration status, citizenship, or language.
Senate vote: 30-9-1; Current location: Assembly Judiciary Committee
SB 674 (De León & Atkins) Immigrant Victim of Crimes Equity Act: This bill will result in an increase of California immigrants qualifying for the Victim of Crime Visa “U-Visa,” which is available to crime victims who cooperate with law enforcement investigations, by removing inequities in the granting of victim certifications.
Senate vote: 38-0-2; Current location: Assembly Public Safety Committee
AB 899 (Levine) Protecting Immigrant Children from Deportation: Protects immigrant children by safeguarding their records from unauthorized disclosure to federal immigration officials that may result in a child’s deportation.
Assembly vote: 76-1-3; Current location: Senate floor
AB 1343 (Thurmond) Ensuring Due Process for Immigrant Defendants: This measure will help immigrants make informed choices regarding their defense because they will better understand the potential immigration consequences of their case.
Assembly vote: 77-0-3; Current location: Senate Public Safety Committee
AB 900 (Levine) Promoting Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Protections: Aligns California law with federal immigration law to allow for the maximum number of youth in California to receive humanitarian relief through the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Visa.
Assembly vote: 56-23-1; Current location: Senate Judiciary Committee
AB 1352 (Eggman) Preventing Unintended Immigration Consequences for Rehabilitated Immigrants: Ends unintended immigration consequences for immigrants who successfully complete diversion programs.
Assembly vote: 42-33-5; Current location: Senate Public Safety Committee