California Leads on Immigration, While Fed Government Flails

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on October 11, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While 2013 appears to be "the year of doing nothing" in Washington, D.C., the California Immigrant Policy Center has lauded it "the 'year of the immigrant' in California, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Governor Brown stated: "While Washington waffles on immigration, California's forging ahead ... I'm not waiting." And forging he is, signing eight bills making sweeping changes to immigration laws in California.

New California Immigration Laws

AB4 The Trust Act

Perhaps the law getting the most attention is AB4, The Trust Act, which prohibits law enforcement for detaining individuals longer than necessary, for non-serious offenses, because of Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds. According to the LA Times, among serious offenses are felony prior convictions and inclusion on sex offender or arson registries, while non-serious offenses include selling food on the street without a permit and possession of marijuana.

Other Acts

Governor Brown signed seven other bills into law, among them ...

SB 666 -- prohibiting employer retaliation against employees on the basis of immigration status.

AB 524 -- threatening to reveal immigration status is a form of extortion.

AB 1024 -- allowing applicants to be admitted as attorneys, regardless of immigration status.

AB 1159 -- imposing responsibilities to those offering immigration reform services.

Mixed Reactions

Not surprisingly, reactions to the new legislation are mixed. The Executive Director of We the People Rising stated: "This is a message to the global community to come to the state of California illegally and you will get documentation and protection," reports the LA Times.

While conservative groups attempt to strike fear in the hearts of people, supporters of the laws have a different view. Executive Director of the California Immigration Policy Center stated: "Today marks the dawn of a new era in California's immigrant communities," reports the LA Times.

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