California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs New Laws Extending Protections to Immigrants

According to reporting from the Los Angeles Times, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed two new bills that extend additional legal protections to immigrants. In passing these laws, California state legislators continue to make a sharp contrast with President Trump and his administration’s efforts to curtail immigrant rights. In this article, our California immigration law attorney offers a brief overview of the new laws. 

1. Undocumented Immigrants and Non-Citizens Can Serve on State Boards and Commissions

In most jurisdictions, undocumented immigrants and non-citizens are limited in their ability to participate in important community functions. California’s new laws help to change that in our state: under the bill signed by Governor Newsom, undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens will be permitted to serve on state boards and state commissions. Indeed, the legislation opened the eligibility requirements—allowing all California residents over the age of eighteen to be appointed to or serve in many different positions, regardless of their immigration status. 

This is an important change to state law, and it will have a real, tangible impact on immigrant rights and representation. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, many positions in California were previously out of the reach of qualified people based solely on their immigration status. In some cases, immigrants who were brought to the United States as young children and who lived virtually all of their lives in the state of California were prevented from serving their community. 

2. Easier Access to Student Loans and In-State Tuition for DREAMers

Another bill signed by Governor Newsom expands the California student loan program to undocumented immigrants who were brought to California as children. Under the new regulations, DREAMers will become eligible for state student loans and in-state tuition when seeking graduate degrees at public universities in the state. This law is set to go into effect on January 1st, 2020. Notably, these students are already eligible for these benefits when seeking undergraduate degrees.  

3. Arrests for Immigration Violations are Banned at Courthouses in California

Finally, Governor Newsom has also signed a bill banning immigration arrests at courthouses in California. The law is another important addition to California’s patchwork of protections for undocumented immigrants. In recent years, California—and many local jurisdictions with the state—have adopted sanctuary status laws. Indeed, many law enforcement agencies in California, including the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), are restricted from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement operations. It is important to provide immigrants with protection at sensitive places. A state bill barring immigration arrests at courthouses is an important measure. 

We Fight for Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we are proud to be trusted, experienced advocates for immigrants rights. Our law firm represents clients across the complete range of immigration law cases. Regardless of your specific circumstances, we can help. To arrange a completely confidential immigration consultation, please call us (213) 262-2000 or reach out to us directly online. With an office location in Los Angeles, we serve communities all over Southern California.