California is challenging what is typically believed to be the historic status of American Citizenship. Among the new laws discussed, California is permitting noncitizens to sit in on juries, monitor polls for elections and practice law in the U.S. even if they are here illegally.
There is a growing national trend that includes granting drivers’ licenses and in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants in some states and has undocumented immigrants hopeful that they could still lead a normal life even if the immigration legislation fails to produce a path to citizenship. There are over 3.5 million noncitizens who are legal permanent residents in California and the new laws beg the question of what rights and responsibilities belong to these citizens over the residents.
In many ways the new measures underscore any type of legislation trying to be accomplished on Capitol Hill. Many state legislatures have approved new immigrant-friendly measures this year and more than a dozen states have already granted undocumented immigrants in-state college tuition while nine states and D.C. have allowed them to obtain driver’s licenses. With over 2.5 million undocumented immigrants living in California, more than in any other state in the U.S., some states have no choice but to follow California’s way and integrate immigrants into society. “It’s a recognition that how people are living and working in their community might trump their formal legal status,” said Hiroshi Motomura, an immigration law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
St. Louis, for example, is serving as a leader in the Midwest among immigration friendly laws and welcoming immigrants into the city. People value immigrants as individuals more for what they can contribute to the community over whether or not they were born in the U.S.
If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.