Plan To Legalize California Workers Facing Hurdles
Over the last two years, six states in the United States have raised questions of constitutionality by approving laws designed to make it harder for illegal immigrants to live and work in the U.S. Now, the state with the largest population of undocumented workers is poised to focus the spotlight on immigrations but at the opposite end of the spectrum from the other six states.
At this time, there is legislation moving through the legislature in California that would give state work permits to thousands of undocumented immigrants who presently work in agriculture, clean offices and work in the fast food industry. Proponents of the legislation, who are frustrated due to the lack of comprehensive reform in immigration by Congress, say the bill would help California solve a big problem that has been exacerbated by the inaction of the federal government.
Manuel Perez, an Assembly member who is a Democrat, said he believes the state of California could become a model for the nation. He said up until now, the state has been very quiet on this controversial issue.
His bill, AB1544, has already cleared an Assembly committee and comes when the U.S. Supreme Court is deliberating over the constitutionality of the two-year old Arizona immigration law.
Lawmakers feel that if the Supreme Court upholds the Arizona law, then states could pass other laws that would be upheld and not just ones that are for enforcement purposes. Many states would likely follow in the footsteps of Arizona if the Supreme Court decides to uphold the law, but states could also us their rights to push laws to the left regarding immigration. Perez says he does not need the support of Republicans to get the law passed.