Riverside County and Orange County are home to many immigrants who have traveled to the United States hoping to make a fresh start. For those who do not have the proper paperwork, however, the fear of being sent back to their home country looms large.
Since President Donald Trump was sworn in, he has acted swiftly to issue a series of executive orders aimed at tightening immigration enforcement, leading to increased fear among the immigrant community. California is home to one of the highest immigration populations in the country and roughly 2.3 million people living in the state are undocumented. Therefore, Democratic lawmakers have proposed a number of new bills, which are intended to bolster protection for immigrants in California.
One bill proposes to create a fund that would help pay legal expenses for those threatened with removal from the country. Another bill, called the California Values Act, would not only safeguard personal information about immigrants, but also prevent the authorities from dedicating resources to enforcement immigration laws. Opponents of the bill argued that it could hinder the efforts of law enforcement agencies. While both Republican and Democratic lawmakers claim to share the goal of protecting U.S. citizens, it remains to be seen whether the proposed laws affording protection to immigrants gain any traction. So far, both bills have moved out of their respective committees.
Immigrants who do not have the proper paperwork may still have legal options. Those whose immigration status is in question may wish to contact an experienced attorney.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “California lawmakers advance proposals to strengthen state’s protections for immigrants facing deportation,” Jazmine Ulloa, Jan. 31, 2017