Today Governor Brown signed three bills authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to protect the rights and expand opportunities of immigrants and students. Read more below about Senate Bill 29 (moratorium on for-profit immigration detention), Senate Bill 68 (in-state tuition), and Senate Bill 257 (exiled students).
Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 29, the Dignity Not Detention bill, to block the expansion of for-profit detention of immigrants in California.
SB 29 will prevent local California governments from entering into a contract or renewing or modifying contracts with for-profit companies and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold immigrants. Earlier this year Governor Brown signed a budget bill containing a similar moratorium on contracts with public jails that hold immigrants.
“California should not be siding with companies that profit from the detention of asylum seekers and the misery of divided families,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “Senate Bill 29 will stop the runaway train of detention and shine a light on private companies so California can ensure the human rights and dignity of those immigrants detained in our state.”
SB 29 also makes for-profit facilities that contract with a California city or local jurisdiction subject to the California Public Records Act, and requires 180 days of public notice and at least two public hearings before a local city or county issues a permit to a for-profit detention company to build or expand.
Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 68, which expands the state’s landmark AB 540 (2001) to make undocumented students at community college and other programs eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid.
AB540 originally enabled undocumented students who graduated from and spent a minimum of three years in a California High School to qualify for in-state tuition. Previously, undocumented students who grew up in California were forced to pay international student fees because they could not establish legal residency.
SB 68 enables students to count years spent at a California Community College and adult education towards AB 540 eligibility. Additionally, the bill will allow the completion of an Associate’s Degree or satisfaction of the minimum requirements to transfer to the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) to allow a student to qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid.
“I am proud of our state’s role as an educational pioneer, and Senate Bill 68 expands our landmark in-state tuition law into so that more students can afford to pursue their educations,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “Expanding in-state tuition to include community college and nontraditional students will make sure no students fall through the cracks.”
“Students’ will to succeed always amazes me, and as lawmakers it is our job to clear the way for them to go as far as their talents and drive can take them,” added Senator Lara.
Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 257, which protects the education of California students exiled out of state because of the forced departure of a parent.
SB 257 requires school districts to admit California students whose parents departed California against his or her will, most often by deportation.
An estimated 500,000 U.S.-born students moved to Mexico since 2005, often because of the deportation of a parent. When parents are deported, they often take their children with them so as to not break up the family. Students who have grown up as Americans may not speak Spanish or may have problems enrolling in Mexican schools and other public programs.
“Our nation’s broken immigration laws are creating a lost generation of exiled children who left the country when their parents were deported and struggle with an unfamiliar culture and language,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “Many of these exiled students will return to the U.S. someday, years behind other students. We owe it to their future and to our state to make sure they can continue their education in California schools if they are able.”