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California Proposes Change for Thousands of Undocumented Migrants

California Proposes Change for Thousands of Undocumented Migrants
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California Proposes Change for Thousands of Undocumented Migrants

Source: Pinterest

To ensure inclusion for all, the California Assembly passed a bill known as the Opportunity for All Act (Bill 2586) on May 22, 2024. The bill favors undocumented migrants in the state. 

The California legislation intends to transform the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants. The bill would enable these migrants to be able to get authorization for schooling and work in the state. 

Solution to the Financial Struggles Faced by Undocumented Migrants

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The Opportunity for All Act was initiated by the state representative David Alvarez. He suggested solutions to the financial struggles faced by undocumented migrants in the state while studying. 

Alvarez stated that the new legislation will address disparities faced by undocumented students. He emphasized the good impact of the bill on their academic and personal life.

The Bill Had Major Backing in the Assembly

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When the bill was introduced to the Assembly, it had major support from the members of the House. It had 54-4 votes and 17 abstentions.

This major backing automatically pushes the bill to the House of Senate and awaits their decision. If the bill is eventually approved by the Senate, it awaits the governor’s signature and becomes law.


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Job For All

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The Opportunity for All Act (Bill 2586) enables undocumented students to have equal access to job opportunities at the state’s higher education institutions, which include the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges.

The bill made provisions for equality regarding job opportunities without discriminating between documented and undocumented students.

Reaction From the State Higher Institution

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While the bill awaits a response from the Senate, there is a mixed reaction from the state higher institutions. According to a spokesperson for California State University, Amy Bentley-Smith speaks about the school’s view. 

Bentley-Smith said that the school has nothing against it even though there is no formal position yet. However, Bentley-Smith expressed uncertainty over the outcome of the Senate’s decision. 

Institutions To Implement the Law by January 2025 if Signed Into Law

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If the bill eventually passes through the Senate and becomes law, the schools affected are expected to make effect to the law starting from January 6, 2025.

The implementation would take effect in 10 University of California campuses, 23 California State University campuses, and 116 community colleges. The institutions are expected to integrate their employment practices with the new regulatory framework. 

State Representative Criticizes the Inaction of the Federal Government

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In a recent interview with Calmatters, the state representative, David Alvarez, criticizes the federal government’s inaction regarding immigration reform.

Alvarez believes that if the federal government had taken necessary measures to address immigration reform, state-level actions like AB 2586 would not have been necessary.


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The Urgent Need for Immigration Reform in California

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California is one of the most targeted states by Undocumented immigrants as they have borders through which different people come into the state. As of 2007, California had about 2.9 million undocumented immigrants. 

Gradually it reduces to 1.9 million in 2020 according to Pew Research Center. This brings about supportive laws like AB 2586, which address the pressing needs of the California community.

Noticeable Increase in Naturalization Among Immigrants in California

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California has experienced a noticeable increase in naturalization among immigrants, according to data from the Public Policy Institute of California.

The reports revealed that from 2022, about 54 percent of undocumented immigrants had become natural citizens of California, a significant increase from the 31% noted in 1990.

Exception for Opportunity for All Act (Bill 2586)

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The Opportunity for All Act (Bill 2586) has made it mandatory that no university or college should refuse to hire students because they can’t make provisions for federal work authorization or permit. 

The law however gives exception that this mandate might not be considered when federal law mandates it or when needed for a grant funding the specific job they applied for.


ALSO READ: Florida Governor Blames Undocumented Immigrants for Health Care Costs

State To Employ Undocumented Immigrants Irrespective of Federal Authorization

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There is a question of whether the state’s law would overshadow federal law. To answer this, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy clarifies that the state has the right to employ undocumented immigrants despite national restrictions.

The federal law does not bind the state from employing undocumented people if it wishes. Through state law, undocumented immigrants stand the chance to get a job irrespective of a federal permit. 

Potentiality of the Bill

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While the bill awaits the Senate’s response, the state assembly strongly believes this bill will be beneficial to the state. The enactment will pave the way for undocumented students to get jobs easily.

Alvarez believes the students have fulfilled their obligations as students and are ready to become part of the state’s future by becoming teachers, doctors, scientists, and public servants, which will benefit the state.

Benefits of the Bill to Undocumented Students

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The Opportunity for All Act (Bill 2586) will benefit undocumented students in different ways. One of them is that it’ll enable them to cater to their basic needs and also be able to afford school bills. 

The bill will also enable undocumented students to gather work experience while still in school and by the time they are done and want to pursue careers, it’ll add up to their years of work experience in the state, hence, bettering their chances. 


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