Lara Introduces Bill to Establish the California Office of New Americans
SACRAMENTO, CA – Recognizing the over 2.6 million undocumented Californians who contribute an estimated $130 billion to the state’s economy, Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) today introduced SB10 to establish the California Office of New Americans which aims be a hub for fraud prevention and information to help immigrants better integrate into the state.
“Ignoring our immigrant communities is irresponsible and unrealistic, especially for a state that has the largest undocumented population in the country” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “That’s why I’m proposing the creation of the California Office of New Americans which will provide our undocumented population with resources, information, and fraud prevention assistance, helping them better integrate into the economic, social and political fabric of our state.”
An estimated 2.6 million Californians are undocumented immigrants and one in six children lives with an undocumented parent. Eighty percent of these children are native born U.S. citizens who stand to benefit from increased family stability and economic security.
While California offers a prospect of a more open existence than other states, thanks in large part to the multitude of pro-immigrant legislation passed over the years, many immigrants struggle to access resources and information to help them become fully integrated, productive residents. Additionally, many of these residents are often taken advantage of by those looking to profit from their immigration situation, resulting in many instances of fraud.
On November 20, President Obama announced his Immigration Accountability Executive Action which will impact an estimated 1.5-1.6 million Californians, many of who will have questions and require assistance to properly file their paperwork for consideration. The success of a large-scale legalization program will depend significantly upon the coordination of multiagency, multisector, statewide public and private effort to provide undocumented immigrants accurate, accessible information and services. It is expected that funding would come in the form of a private and public partnership.
The California Office of New Americans aims to be that hub, developing a coordinated effort that leverages resources to provide education, fraud prevention services, application assistance, legal services, English instruction, and civics classes to undocumented immigrants. The Office will also monitor the implementation of comprehensive immigration reform (when applicable), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) AB60 and other immigrant-friendly policy proposals.
The bill will be heard early 2015.