California is allegedly home to 2.5 million undocumented immigrants. Lucrative industries such as agriculture, hospitality, construction and the food industry all make California attractive to big business and the undocumented.
Recently a group of Democratic Legislators revealed a series of 10 bills that would do the following:
- Create an Office of New Americans in the governor’s office that better serves the undocumented
- Provide illegal immigrants with subsidized health care by extending Medi-Cal coverage to all Californians
- Protect immigrants from attorneys and consultants who prey on them and demand advance payment for services. It would also require that the clients of these practitioners be given a toll-free number so that, in case of fraud, they can report them to the State Bar of California.
- Limit the use of “E-Verify” (the government-run database that employers use to check if prospective hires are legally eligible to work) and prevent “abuse” by employers
- Ban businesses from discriminating against residents based on their immigration status, citizenship, or language
As the Daily Beast points out, the last one stands in violation of the 1986, Immigration Reform and Control Act which makes it a crime to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant. How do these Democratic legislators plan to reconcile this?
Apart from that concern, what is it that undocumented immigrants really want? Some argue that all they want are work permits, driver’s licenses and the ability to travel in and out of the United States. If that is the case, then maybe focusing comprehensive immigration reform along these lines is what the U.S. should be focused on rather than the countless piecemeal offerings coming from individual states and the federal government.
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