Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Project: Strategic Implementation of New ‘Immigrants Shape California’ Laws

With the failure of Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform and administrative relief remaining embroiled in our judicial system, the California Legislature this year took a decidedly different tack on the frontlines of the immigration policy debate: passing practical and meaningful reforms that will measurably improve the lives of immigrants.

Last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a host of new measures within the Immigrants Shape California Legislative Package. The new laws include: drug law reform to limit the disproportionate impact of federal consequences including on immigrants, providing enhanced humanitarian relief for children and youth, ensuring due process of law for immigrants in the justice system, and protecting immigrant victims of crime.

Taken together, these new laws focus on helping the most marginalized within the immigrant community, including youth, victims, and those with run-ins with the justice system.

Once California fully implements these new measures, they will embody significant progress towards strengthening California families and communities and furthering the state’s legacy as a leader in implementing smart, effective, and morally sound immigration policies.

As the writer and co-sponsor/supporter of these five new access to justice laws, the ILRC will use the grant from the MTYKL Foundation to develop a strategic approach to implementation that will ensure that these laws have maximum positive impact on immigrant communities across California.

As part of our implementation plan we will conduct the following activities:

  • Ensure that each law is implemented by the relevant agencies.
  • Monitor implementation of the legislation and identify problems.
  • Conduct community outreach and education and support community groups in their effort to obtain better local policies and practices for implementing all of these new laws.
  • Conduct training and technical assistance to immigration and other civil rights advocates and attorneys on how to seek the benefits under these laws in the courts or before law enforcement agencies.

Through implementation of these bills, we will be able to ensure that more immigrants will be able to obtain legal status and receive the accompanying protections and benefits that go along with status, resulting in the stabilization of their lives.

We will also be able to shield more immigrants, including those with legal status, from deportation; this is important as we are living in an era where there have been record numbers of deportations, with California leading the country.

In all, this work embodies significant progress towards ensuring equal protection under the law for all residents of California and strengthening and keeping California families and communities together.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national non-profit resource center that provides legal trainings, educational materials, and advocacy to advance immigrant rights. The mission of the ILRC is to work with and educate immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector to continue to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people.