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Four California Immigration Laws That Benefit Millennials

In this Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 file photo, Itzel Guillen, left, sorts out some of the documents she needs to apply for a work permit along with Lucero Maganda, right, at her home in San Diego, Ca. Guillen and Maganda are among those hoping for the right to work legally in America without being deported.

CREDIT: AP/Gregory Bull.

Driver’s licenses and legal licenses are now granted to many Millennial undocumented immigrants in California thanks to pieces of legislation that go into effect this year.

California kicked off 2014 leading the nation with new laws that are friendly toward DREAMers and undocumented Millennial immigrants. Without comprehensive immigration reform passed by Congress, the 2.1 million undocumented youth in California have long faced a variety of challenges to pursue their education, create financial security, and live in comfort with their families and communities.

However here are four key pieces of legislation that Congress should note as they address comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year.

1. Sergio Garcia is just one of the DREAMERs and future lawyers who now will be allowed to practice law in California thanks to AB 1024.

2. The movement to end deportations gains a substantial step forward with AB 4 that “prohibits a law enforcement official from detaining an individual on the basis of a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody” unless serious or violent crimes have been committed. This bill directly opposes the Secure Communities Program, which allowed ICE to conduct 368, 644 removals last year.

3. Additionally, for undocumented Millennials who work to support themselves and their families, AB 263 and SB 666 prohibit employers from punishing or retaliating against workers on the basis of their citizenship status.

4. Although AB 60 officially takes effect in 2015,  it requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles to “issue a driver license to an applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that he/she is legally present in the Unites States.” State officials will begin the implementation processes this year.

Congress should look to California and other states as role models while addressing the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.

Jude Paul Dizon is a reporter with Generation Progress.

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