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California is home to the largest population of immigrants in the United States.  Millions of immigrants from across the globe play a vital role in the Golden State’s economic and cultural life. To build a prosperous future for all Californians, the state must champion inclusive policies. The California Immigrant Policy Center is pleased to share this policy agenda, which presents crucial legislative and administrative advocacy the organization is leading or playing a key leadership role in.

In 2013, we have a historic opportunity to change federal immigration policies, and California, as home to more immigrants than any other state in the country, has a great deal at stake in this debate. This year, in addition to advocacy in Sacramento, CIPC is working to infuse California’s unique experience and values into the national discussion on immigration reform in collaboration with diverse partners across the state. Learn more at

Below are key policy areas in which CIPC is working to advance inclusive policies:

Improving Access to Affordable, Meaningful Health Care for All - Everyone in California should be able to secure affordable, comprehensive health insurance through public or private coverage. This year, CIPC has prioritized advocacy and legislation that advance California’s progress towards meaningful reform of the healthcare system.

  • Protecting and Expanding Medi-Cal for Legal Immigrants

Our state legislators have been working hard to expand Medi-Cal as quickly and simply as possible through ABx1 1 (Perez) and SBx1 1 (Steinberg/Hernandez) which will expand Medi-Cal to 1.4 million Californians. CIPC is pleased that these two bills maintain full-scope Medi-Cal for recent lawfully present immigrants. Governor Brown wishes to have both of these bills amended, with a more draconian proposal which seeks to stop enrollment into full-scope Medi-Cal for low-income, recent lawfully present, eligible immigrants who apply for Medi-Cal after January 1, 2014. CIPC is working to maintain this program moving forward.

  • Implementation of the Affordable Care Act & Advocating for Healthcare for All

CIPC is working with state policymakers and advocates on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. California’s immigrants and their families stand to benefit from the new reforms, which will provide access to quality health care coverage for eligible family members.  Additionally, CIPC will continue to engage partners and allies during this budget season to ensure that California’s counties are able to continue to provide a robust health safety net for the 3-4 million Californians who will remain uninsured. One-third of the remaining uninsured are ineligible for new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act due to their immigration status.  

Protecting Civil Rights and Ensuring Equal Opportunity 

  • AB 4 (Ammiano) TRUST Act

Over 93,500 Californians have been torn from their families and deported due to the controversial “Secure Communities” program known as S-Comm, more than any other state. S-Comm is a federal deportation program which has devastated families and undermined the trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.  The TRUST Act limits unfair, costly detentions of aspiring citizens in local jails for deportation purposes – people who would otherwise be released. The bill recognizes that we should not deport today those who could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow under immigration reform. AB 4 is co-sponsored by Asian Law Caucus, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, CIPC, ACLU of California, and MALDEF.

  • AB 1195 (Eggman)

There are reports that in some jurisdictions, victims of crime are being denied their crime report because of their immigration status. They are being denied their crime report based on the grounds that a foreign passport without supporting immigration documents or a Matricula Consular card are not appropriate forms of identification.  Denying the victims of violence their crime report precludes them from obtaining necessary and available services to help them cope and move ahead. This is important because having a crime report permits certain immigrants to apply for U or T visa under the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). AB 1195 will prevent the exclusion of foreign passports or a Matricula Consular card in the future.

  • AB 60 (Alejo) – Driver’s Licenses

In 1993, Governor Pete Wilson signed legislation that requires all driver’s license applicants provide a valid social security number (SSN) and proof of lawful presence in the United States.These requirements force many Californians to drive unlicensed and uninsured, undermining the Department of Motor Vehicle’s mission to ensure public safety, and limiting law enforcements’ ability to effectively perform its duties. AB 60 would improve public safety and accountability by modifying the social security number and lawful presence requirements to ensure that virtually all drivers on California highways are properly trained, tested, licensed, and insured.

  • SB 23 (Lara) – Taskforce on New American Integration

It is estimated that approximately 10 million Californians are immigrants; 6.5 million are either naturalized or eligible to naturalize; and more than 2.8 million are aspiring citizens that live in the shadows due to a broken immigration system. SB 23 (Lara) would require the Governor to establish a Task Force on New American Integration to provide recommendations on immigrant integration, implementation of federal immigration reform, and establishment of an Office of New Americans.

Advocacy for Low-Wage Immigrant Workers - Approximately 6.5 million immigrants work in California, comprising a third of the state’s labor force.  Many are in low-wage industries and figure prominently in key economic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and repair service industries.

  • AB 1164 (Lowenthal) – Fair Paycheck Act

AB 1164 allows low-wage workers who have been denied wages to place a temporary hold on their employers’ property, or the property worked on, for the amount owed until they can prove their claims in court.  The bill ensures that when these workers win their wage claims, they can collect what they are owed. CIPC is supporting a statewide coalition leading this bill.

In addition to these legislative proposals and priorities for administrative advocacy, CIPC is actively supporting a number of other proposed bills. These include the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB 241 – Ammiano), and other proposed legislation to protect immigrants and their families.

Final Note:  CIPC Steering Committee

The California Immigrant Policy Center 2013 Policy Agenda was developed and agreed upon by CIPC’s Steering Committee comprised of 12 organizational members, representing coalitions of immigrant communities across the state including, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), California Dream Team Alliance, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Communities for a New California, Council on American-Islamic Relations - California (CAIR), East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition/CLUE-CA, Justice For Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, San Francisco Immigrant Education & Legal Network (SFILEN) and Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN) in San Jose.

For more information, email Ronald Coleman at
rcoleman@caimmigrant.org or visit www.caimmigrant.org.

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