2012 CIPC Policy Agenda
Immigrants play a vital role in California’s economic and cultural life, making up more than a third of the state’s workforce. As such, immigrants contribute substantially to the state and have a stake in ensuring that California rebounds from its economic crisis towards a more prosperous future. The children of immigrants in particular are critical to the vitality and growth of the labor force in the coming decades. Yet immigrant families and their children are often unable to secure the health care and basic services they need to lead healthy and full lives. For the well-being of all Californians, lawmakers must prioritize immigrant integration - by guaranteeing access to basic health care and other services and by advocating for effective immigration policies at the state and federal level.
This CIPC policy agenda presents legislative and administrative advocacy in which CIPC is a lead or co-lead. CIPC works to support immigrants and their families by:
Maintaining California’s Safety-Net for Immigrants – In these difficult economic times, as California faces a serious budget crisis, it is particularly important to preserve critical health and human services programs that serve low-income residents. Cutting these programs places the health and safety of Californians at risk and is not an effective way to address budget problems.
Governor Jerry Brown seeks to close a $9.2 billion state budget deficit through a mix of cuts and revenue, disproportionately affecting California’s working families, including immigrants. $2.5 billion in cuts to Health and Human Service programs are proposed, on top of the $15 billion in cuts to those same programs since 2008. CIPC will focus on protecting access to CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, Community Clinics, and state-funded programs available to immigrants.
Protecting Civil Rights and Ensuring Equal Opportunity
• AB 1081 (Ammiano) TRUST Act
Over 60,000 Californians have been deported due to the controversial “Secure Communities” program known as S-Comm. S-Comm is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation program which has devastated families and undermined the trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. The TRUST Act will be the first state-level proposal in the nation to set reasonable limits for local responses to the burdensome immigration hold requests that detain community members for deportation. AB 1081 is co-Sponsored by CIPC, the Asian Law Caucus, and the National Day Labor Organizing Network.
• AB 1899 (Mitchell) Access to Education for Victims of Crime
AB 1899 is co-Sponsored by CIPC, National Immigration Law Center, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Under state law, students who attend high school in California for three years, graduate and meet certain other criteria may qualify for in-state tuition rates and privately-funded scholarships at public colleges and universities. These students will qualify for state financial aid and fee waivers beginning in 2013. However, crime survivors who are granted “T” or “U” status are not covered by these provisions. This bill, authored by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, would provide continued access to in-state tuition rates, fee waivers, scholarships and state financial aid to otherwise eligible crime survivors who have been granted a “T” or “U” non-immigrant status.
Improving Access to Affordable, Meaningful Health Care for All - Everyone in California should be able to secure affordable, comprehensive health insurance through public or private coverage. This year, CIPC has prioritized advocacy and legislation that advance California’s progress towards meaningful reform of the healthcare system.
• Implementation of the Affordable Care Act- CIPC is working with state policymakers and advocates on implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. California’s immigrants and their families stand to benefit from the new reforms, which will provide access to quality health care coverage for eligible family members. CIPC is participating in California Health Benefit Exchange Board meetings and working with the administration to ensure that a fair system is developed, that all eligible family members can be easily enrolled, and that systems are user-friendly for LEP populations. CIPC is also working to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated for outreach and enrollment for immigrant communities throughout California.
• SB 1313 (Lieu) Deceptive Marketing of Health Insurance & Immigrant Communities -SB 1313 (Lieu) is co-sponsored by CIPC, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and Consumers Union. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as many as 7 million Californians will gain access to health coverage, many of them through Medi-Cal and California’s newly created Health Benefit Exchange. Immigrants and Limited-English Proficient (LEP) individuals are vulnerable to deceptive marketing of plans due to confusion over the individual mandate, eligibility rules and a lack of information in languages other than English. Senator Ted Lieu’s bill would strengthen consumer protections.
Advocacy for Low-Wage Immigrant Workers - Approximately 6.5 million immigrants work in California, making up a third of the state’s labor force. Many are in low-wage industries and figure prominently in key economic sectors with unsafe working conditions such as agriculture and manufacturing. CIPC is exploring potential state policies that build equality and opportunity for all low-wage workers. Specifically, we are looking at rights and remedies at the workplace including the promotion of policies that afford workers full rights on the job and improve health and safety conditions.
In addition to these legislative proposals and priorities for administrative advocacy, CIPC is actively supporting a number of other proposed bills. These include AB 889, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and other proposed legislation that is currently in the works to protect immigrants and their families.
Final Note: CIPC Steering Committee
The California Immigrant Policy Center 2012 Legislative Agenda was developed and agreed upon by CIPC’s Steering Committee comprised of eleven organizational members, representing coalitions of immigrant communities across the state including, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition/CLUE-CA, Justice For Immigrants in the Inland Empire, People United for Economic Justice Building Leadership through Organizing (PUEBLO), San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, San Francisco Immigrant Education & Legal Network (SFILEN) and Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN) in San Jose.
For more information, email Ronald Coleman at email@example.com or visit www.caimmigrant.org