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Rights and Regulations for Immigrants in California

California’s Sanctuary Laws & Immigrant Protections

The immigrant and civil rights organizations, faith-based organizations, worker and criminal justice advocates, agencies assisting domestic violence victims, healthcare providers, and unions collaborated to pass S.B. 54, the California Values Act (also known as the California sanctuary state law). The bill restricts the use of state and local resources to aid the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) deportations. It provides legal protections to its immigrants from the federal authorities, who might get them deported.

The bill naturally altered the entire outlook of immigrant protection within the state. The following are some alterations made through the state bill 54 (SB-54); 

  1. It forbids the local and state officials from inquiring about the immigrant status of any individual on routine on-duty procedures.
  2. The act also forsakes the local and state officials to withhold immigrants in their custody until they are taken under federal custody.
  3. Keeping the federal government from pressuring local governments to act as de facto immigration agents

However, please note that the relief and protection awarded to the immigrants by California does not go as far as shielding criminals from the federal government. The sole purpose of such immigrant-inclined laws is to ensure some relief to the hardships faced by almost every immigrant entering the state.

Discrimination & Harassment: Know Your Rights

The Anti-Discrimination Laws of California apply to all non-citizens (documented and undocumented) residing in the country. It protects their employment and housing rights, prohibiting discrimination against anyone of a different national origin. The anti-discrimination laws prohibit any wrongdoing against an immigrant based on their nationality, as well as any sudden inquiry by a legal officer without clarifying the inquiry’s purpose or the fact that it is necessary to comply with federal law.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council announced in 2018 that all the immigrants residing in the country are well-protected against all discriminatory actions under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). It further made it clear that discrimination against an immigrant’s status falls under the subset of discrimination against the nationality of any individual. 

Under this act, employers discriminating against an employee based on their national origin is considered a severe violation of the law. The discrimination can be in terms of privileges and promotions enjoyed by all the other co-workers in the same position. If the employer chooses to discriminate, they must be able to clarify that the discrimination is to abide by federal immigration laws.

Any threat or demeaning and loathful comments passed on to an immigrant (documented or undocumented) falls under harassment or a hostile act against the immigrant. The harassment also includes mocking an immigrant’s culture, language, beliefs, or even accent. 

Working in California as an Undocumented Immigrant

An undocumented immigrant in California is an individual who migrated from another country and is not a permanent resident in the U.S. Their undocumented status remains as their immigration status remains unresolved.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), it is against the law to treat workers differently based on whether they are documented or undocumented immigrants. Even if you’re an undocumented immigrant residing in California, you still have the right to employment. Moreover, the Federal Anti-discrimination Act protects every worker in the state regardless of their citizenship status in the U.S. 

However, every undocumented worker needs to know how to protect themselves from discrimination, unfair wages, and harassment and obtain an official legal status in the country. In addition to having rights against their employers, every immigrant, regardless of their immigration status, can join a union and receive workers’ compensation benefits. 

Accessing Healthcare in California as an Undocumented Immigrant

California has always been seen on the frontline to accommodate U.S. non-citizens and has never shied away from providing relief to the minority group. And to continue making history, California is again set to be headlined by becoming the first state to offer government-subsidized health insurance to all the undocumented immigrants residing in the country, effective from 2024. 

The state already offers subsidized health insurance to undocumented immigrants under the Medi-Cal program initiated in 2022-23. However, the program only covers immigrants under 26 years of age, over 50, or the beneficiaries of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And now, the program is set to cover an additional 700,000 immigrants between the ages of 24 and 49, effective from 2024. 

Get In Touch With Us!

Contact Sidman Law Group right away if you are looking for the best Immigration Law Firm in California to handle your immigration needs. Not only will our seasoned immigration attorneys evaluate your case and provide you with the best legal advice to get your immigration status legalized.