CA governor signs bills to help state’s undocumented immigrants

By Balitang America Staff, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 30, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – California’s Gov.Jerry Brown signed three bills on Tuesday that will make life easier for close to three million undocumented immigrants living in the Golden State.

The first bill signed by Brown allows undocumented immigrants to apply for professional state licenses to work as doctors, nurses, dentists and in other professions.

The second bill signed into law creates the State Dream Loan Program, which will give over $9 million to state public universities to provide loans to undocumented students.

The last bill signed by Brown sets aside $3 million for non-profit organizations to legally represent minors in their deportation cases.

Critics say these new laws will only cause more undocumented immigrants to flock to California.

U.S. military opens doors for undocumented immigrants

At the national level, for the first time the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program or MAVNI will be open to a small portion of undocumented immigrants.

Those eligible will have to have come to the U.S. with their parents before age 16.

And they must be approved under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.

About 1,500 of these undocumented immigrants will be allowed to serve in the U.S. military every year.

Those targeted by recruiters in this program will likely by immigrants with language skills critical to national security.

Bay area immigration lawyer Ted Laguatan said Gov. Brown’s bill permitting undocumented immigrants to apply for professional licenses doesn’t grant them legal authorization to work.

“If they get their license, it speeds up the way for them to be legalized,” Laguatan explained. “They can get a petitioner who can file petitions for them. It that’s approved, that’s a way of legalizing them.”

Laguatan also explained that undocumented immigrants who enter the military through the expanded MAVNI program would be granted a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

“There’s a provision in the immigration laws that if you serve in the military you can immediately apply for citizenship. But it’s limited to only 1,500 people at the moment. And it’s qualified to those who can speak Arabic and some other languages, and those in the medical fields like orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologist nurses. This is very good. Hopefully it will lead to the eventual increase in so far as those who can qualify for this.”

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