SACRAMENTO–Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), and other members of the Legislature unveiled legislation today that would enhance protections for undocumented Californians.

The package of bills includes a measure sponsored by the ACLU of California, AB 1352, and introduced by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton).  AB 1352 eliminates the harsh and unintended immigration consequences when criminal charges are dismissed after people successfully complete deferred judgment programs for minor drug offenses.

Other bills in the package announced by legislative leaders include measures to assist immigrants with integration and citizenship, protect them from fraud, discrimination and abuse, extend health care coverage, ensure due process and confidentiality in legal proceedings, and encourage them to come forward to help in criminal prosecutions.

In response to their introduction, we issued the following statement from Kevin Baker, legislative director with the ACLU of California’s Center for Advocacy and Policy:

“We commend California's Legislative leadership for taking on a comprehensive agenda to ensure the rights of all Californians are protected, regardless of immigration status.

Immigrants contribute immeasurably to the rich cultural fabric and economic success of California, despite facing serious challenges created by our nation’s broken immigration system.

Yet California continues to lead the nation in forward-thinking laws and policies that recognize immigrants’ contributions. From the California DREAM Act to the Safe and Responsible Drivers Act, California understands that when we take a stand to protect immigrants’ rights, all Californians stand to benefit.”