California recently passed a bill to protect undocumented immigrants who are the victims of crimes from being deported. California has the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the country at an estimated 2.45 million. The California Assembly passed the Immigrant Victims of Crime Equity Act, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León of Los Angeles. The bill is now headed to Governor Jerry Brown for signing. If signed by the governor, it will become state law.
S.B. 674 requires local and state law enforcement agencies to sign certifications for qualified immigrant crime victims when they have been helpful to the investigation of crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence. The certifications are prerequisites to an application for a Victim of Crime “U-Visa,” which is issued by the federal government to prevent deportation of victims of specific crimes who have been helpful to the investigation or prosecution. S.B. 674 also provides relief for victims of domestic violence. The intent of the Bill is to curb crime, since victims of crime tend to not report it or cooperate with law enforcement if they are in the country illegally. The bill is part of the sweeping Immigrants Shape California legislative package.
Under federal law, being in the country illegally is grounds for deportation. If S.B. 674 is passed, it would mean that victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence in California would not face potential deportation for reporting the crime.
The California Legislative Package
In addition to S.B. 674, nine other immigrant-friendly bills were also introduced:
- SB 10 — establishes the California Office of New Americans to ensure that California has a comprehensive approach to immigrant integration;
- SB 4 — Extends access to healthcare coverage through Medi-Cal to illegal immigrants;
- AB 622 — Strengthens the state labor code to protect immigrant workers from unscrupulous employers;
- SB 600 — Amends the Unruh Civil Rights Act to make it unlawful for businesses to discriminate against a person on the basis of their immigration status;
- AB 60 — Protects Californians from immigration attorneys and consultants demanding advanced payment for services related to a pending immigration reform acts;
- AB 899 — Prevents immigrant children’s records from unauthorized disclosure to federal immigration officials;
- AB 1343 — Avoids unintended detention and deportation by requiring defense counsel to provide accurate and affirmative advice and defense;
- AB 900 — Allows for the maximum number of youth in California to receive humanitarian relief;
- AB 1352 — Ends unintended immigration consequences for immigrants who successfully complete deferred entry of judgment program.
San Diego Immigration and Criminal Defense Lawyer
At the Law Offices of David Boertje, our attorneys have a solid understanding of how federal immigration laws interact with California criminal law. If you have been charged with a crime in San Diego County, it is imperative that you contact and immigration and criminal defense attorney right away. Contact the law offices of attorney David Boertje today for a free and confidential consultation.