California is giving undocumented migrants even more rights: “The opportunity to succeed”

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Texas and California are currently the two states most exposed to illegal immigration, with the difference that California is a sanctuary state and known for giving many benefits even to undocumented immigrants. Recently, this issue has gained significant attention across the state, particularly due to the state’s significant budget deficit. In response to this crisis, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced significant spending cuts in early May, a decision that will significantly affect millions of Californians. The state is also facing several other major challenges that put a lot of pressure on the Democratic leadership.

House insurance crisis

Since the start of the year, several house insurance companies have decided to leave the California market or simply reduce operations. The looming housing insurance meltdown has left millions of people in California without the possibility of insuring their properties, forcing them to rely on the California FAIR Plan, the state’s last resort insurer. With house insurance taking a hit lately, Newsom shocked Californians with yet another price hike. He recently announced that a new law is in the works that would allow house insurance companies to increase prices more frequently.

A bill to give more rights to undocumented migrants

As the Democratic leadership in California tackles several key issues, the state Assembly has passed Bill 2586, also called the Opportunity for All Act. This legislation aims to ensure that all students, including undocumented immigrants, have equal chances to work at the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC) campuses. It is expected to assist over 40,000 students by providing them with work authorizations.

Addressing inequities

The bill was introduced by State Representative David Alvarez, who emphasized that it seeks to reduce the financial difficulties that undocumented students face while pursuing their education. The bill was approved with a vote of 59-4, with 17 votes not recorded. For it to become law, it still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

California state Assembly has passed Bill 2586, also called the Opportunity for All Act, to allow undocumented migrant students find work
Migrants, Credit: Deposit Photos

Read also: Gov. Abbott won’t stop most controversial Texas measure, threatens to send more migrants to sanctuary cities

“America has always promised that if you work hard, you will have the opportunity to succeed,” Alvarez said in a post-vote statement. “These students have fulfilled their obligation and are ready to be our future teachers, scientists, doctors, and public servants. AB 2586 will provide them with the opportunity to work. Creating these pathways to secure employment is essential.”

California state Assembly has passed Bill 2586, also called the Opportunity for All Act, to allow undocumented migrant students find work
Migrants in California, Credit: Deposit Photos

Absence of federal government legislation

In an interview with CalMatters, Alvarez pointed out that the need for this California legislation arises from the federal government’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. If there were adequate federal laws, California wouldn’t need to step in, Alvarez noted.

Read also: Speaker Johnson silent on Trump’s border bill sabotage while Texas and California fight illegal immigration on their own

Alvarez sees this bill as a continuation of California’s efforts to make higher education more accessible to undocumented students. The state already offers tuition waivers, grants, and loans to these students, who are ineligible for federal financial assistance. Allowing them to work on campus would help them make up for shortfalls in their financial aid, covering essential costs like housing, transportation, and food.

The law would affect all 10 University of California schools, 23 California State universities, and 116 community colleges, requiring implementation by January 6, 2025. The Orange County Register reports that about 45,000 undocumented students would be eligible to apply for campus jobs under this new law, which they are currently unable to do due to their status.

California state Assembly has passed Bill 2586, also called the Opportunity for All Act, to allow undocumented migrant students find work
Gov. Gavin Newsom, Credit: Deposit Photos

Read also: Biden admin’s latest plan to trigger another migrant invasion in cities in New York, California, other states

The numbers

In 2021, California had about 1.9 million undocumented immigrants, a decrease from 2.8 million in 2007, reveals a Pew Research Center report from November 2023. This marks a 28 percent drop since 2007 and an 18 percent decrease from 2021, during which about 82 percent of immigrants were either citizens or had legal residency status. Additionally, the Public Policy Institute of California notes that in 2022, approximately 54 percent of immigrants in the state became naturalized citizens, which is part of a rising trend from around 31 percent in 1990.

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