Lara Bill to Establish CA Office of New Americans Clears Key Senate Committee

April 28, 2015

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, SB10 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to establish the California Office of New Americans cleared the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization by a vote of 7 to 0. SB 10 would clearly define a statewide lead to take charge and assess, coordinate, streamline and develop a comprehensive statewide strategy for California’s immigrant integration efforts both in the short and long term. 

“Lacking a centralized state lead to assess challenges and opportunities to coordinate the implementation immigrant integration legislation can create unintended consequences for the New Americans we’ve worked so hard to integrate,” said Senator Lara. “California is home to the largest immigrant population in the United States but does not have a statewide office to coordinate and advise on immigrant policies in our state.  SB 10 will fix that.”
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. The future of our state depends on its ability to successfully integrate immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, into our state. Immigrant workers contribute about $650 billion to California’s GDP and undocumented immigrants in California contribute about $130 billion to the state’s GDP. Immigrants are 12 percent more likely to be business owners and job creators, than their US-born Counterparts and they pay roughly $5.2 billion in state income taxes and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year. In 2012, undocumented immigrants in California paid over $2 billion in sales and use taxes, over $161 million in income taxes, and over $1 billion in property taxes, totaling over $3.2 billion— $500 million up from 2010 figures.
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. 
“While we have enacted landmark legislation such as the California Dream Act and Driver’s Licenses for All, both of which seek to support and integrate immigrants, we have surprisingly not yet created a comprehensive approach to ensure that immigrant populations are part of the civic and economic life of our state,” said Rita Medina, Senior Policy Advocate at CHIRLA. 

The bill will now be referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.