By SOPHIA BOLLAG, SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Immigrants living in California without full legal status could serve in some appointed offices under a bill the state Senate sent Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.
The measure, passed by the Senate 26-11, would let people over 18 who lack authorization to live in the country be appointed to boards and commissions.
Sen. Ricardo Lara, who authored the bill, says it would overturn laws designed to exclude immigrants from civic life.
“We make the best policies when we hear the voices of all Californians regardless of where they are born or what they look like,” the Bell Gardens Democrat said.
The bill, SB174, does not allow people who lack work authorization to hold paid appointments.
Some immigrants living in California have work authorization but not legal status under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives people living in the United States illegally who were brought to the country as children protection from deportation.
Sen. Joel Anderson said he’s worried the bill would encourage Trump opponents to persuade the young immigrants, popularly known as “Dreamers,” to take an appointment as a political move.
He said he opposes the bill because it could put them “in the crosshairs of ICE,” the acronym for federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
“I don’t want any Dreamer to be used as a political pawn in the war on Trump,” the Alpine Republican said.
In March, the state Senate Rules Committee appointed a woman living in California without authorization to a state advisory board. In 2016, Brown appointed someone in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the California State University Board of Trustees.