Immigration Law in 2014

What changes can we expect to see in immigration law in 2014?

New laws affecting immigrants have already gone into effect as of January 1, 2014.

Previously, under the “Secure Communities” program, many immigrants were placed on an “ICE hold” even for low-level offenses.  Under the California Trust Act, state and local jails will only hold immigrants for ICE if they have committed serious or violent crimes.  Hopefully, this will result in fewer immigrants being placed into removal proceedings.

Immigrants have also received new protections in the workplace.  Supervisors are no longer able to retaliate against an undocumented employee if that employee is raising legitimate complaints about unfair wages, hours, or other rights protected by the California Labor Code.

This year, California will be implementing a law passed last year that will allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who can prove their identities, have established California residency, and pass driving exams.  The law is supposed to be in effect before January 2015. Story is here.

These are fantastic steps in the right direction for California’s immigrants.  But let’s keep our eyes on the prize and continue pushing for comprehensive immigration reform on the national level.