At this juncture, the prospect of a comprehensive immigration reform bill is rapidly evaporating with the summer; after sweeping through the Senate with a strong majority, immigration legislation is now stalled in the House, which plans on addressing our broken system through a series of smaller bills ranging from enforcement to relief for Dreamers. Of the vast number of undocumented immigrant groups any type of legislation will potentially affect, immigrant women as a whole are, perhaps, arguably one of the more largely overlooked. The plight of immigrant women forced to be separated from their spouses, parents, and children, and the particular hardships they face as wives, daughters, and mothers is often overlooked. Perhaps this is why a recent demonstration by pro-immigrant advocates-the vast majority of which were women-was so newsworthy.
Though there hasn't been much talk of Congress taking up immigration reform this month, there have been a couple of interesting developments that tangentially involve immigration. On the one hand, the California legislature recently passed a watershed bill (28-8 in the Senate and 55-19 in the Assembly) that will allow the State to grant driver licenses to illegal/undocumented immigrants. Governor Jerry Brown has indicated that he will sign the bill, which by some estimates can potentially affect 1.4 million people. However, these driver licenses will apparently not be identical to regular driver licenses and will bear some sort of indication that identifies and distinguishes the holder as an individual who is not lawfully here. Moreover, according to some newspaper accounts, the license will explicitly state that it cannot be used as proof of eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits. So while this bill is a tremendous step forward in recognizing and regulating the needs of the undocumented population to drive, it obviously bears a darker side that could potentially expose those who it intends to benefit to discrimination.
We had written earlier about the potential impact of the proposed Conditional Dismissal Program on alien defendants in Municipal Court. We just learned today that the Bill was signed into law by the Governor and will become effective within 120 days. Here is the link to the bill:
Time flies. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) has recently celebrated its one year anniversary already. An approved DACA application brings with it temporary protected legal status and work authorization. The requirements are as follows: