Arturo Rodriguez speaks during UFWmarches which achieved the governors signature. Farmworkers may unionize at their work.
CALIFORNIA- While an increasing number of States like Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina have shown harsh anti-immigrant policies; the Golden State addresses immigration differently.
Governor Jerry Brown signed on Saturday, October 8th three different bills that support immigrants in three major areas employment, transportation and education.
• Assembly Bill (AB) 131, California DREAM Act — this bill allows undocumented students under the AB 540 requirements to access state and private financial aid for college. The law will be enacted on January 1, 2013.
• AB 1236, E-verify — this bill prohibits cities from requiring business owners to use the E-verify system, a system which has been controversial in many communities.
• AB 353, Checkpoint Impounds — this bill prohibits police enforcement from impounding a car at checkpoints solely because the driver is unlicensed. The law will be enacted on January 1, 2012.
“With Alabama’s anti-immigration law taking effect, the passage of A.B 131 comes at a crucial and critical time. California has always set an example and now the momentum for other states to follow,” said Stockton resident Alex Carranza. Indeed the controversial California DREAM Act is one of the major triumphs for the Latino community.
“The CA Dream act is a positive example of how a State can deal with its personal immigration problems in a way that boosts education and opportunity for quality of life as we wait for our Federal government to do its job,” said Alexis Buz, Central Valley Steering Representative for the CA Dream Network. But according to Assembly Member Tim Donnell (R-Twin Peaks), “California simply does not have the money.”
On Monday, October 10th he filed a referendum to overturn the California DREAM Act as he had promised. “This is unfair, fiscally irresponsible and bound to encourage more illegal immigration, which costs between $11 billion and $22 billion across the country annually,” said Donnelly in an opinion page published in The Daily Californian on September 13th.
During his campaign Jerry Brown made a commitment to California’s Latino and immigrant communities. “This act by Governor Brown demonstrates his wonderful leadership ability to keep his word regardless of the expected wave of hatred and disapproval of many ill-informed people on immigration issues.” said Buz.
In the city of Stockton a car impounded for 30 days can result in approximately to $1,800 in fines and fees, the passage of AB 353 gives drivers like Enrique Lara, “security and confidence” while driving.
“It gives you some peace of mind while driving, security and confidence to know that they can’t take your car away, and that you won`t have to pay all that money” said Lara. ■
Report by Mayra Barrios