Immigration laws, although largely federal in application, differs from state to state in the treatments of immigrants and illegal immigrants. Generally, there are marked differences in the benefits and other rights granted to legal as opposed to illegal immigrants in California, from law enforcement checks, education, employment and other public benefits.
Unlike other countries or states, California immigration rules do not require police authorities to check on the immigration status of each individual not local to the area. This means that police authorities cannot randomly flag you or stop you and request that you show your immigration credentials. However, if you are caught in violation of California laws, then your fingerprint can be obtained and the same can be checked with the data base for immigration offenses, if any. If you are randomly stopped by an officer and you are asked to produce documents to show your immigration status, then you have a right to even file a discrimination case against the local officer, especially if you are a legal immigrant.
In most states, employers are required by law to verify the right or authority of its workers to seek employment in the U.S. Although this also holds true in California, legislation implemented in 2012 made it easier for farm workers and farm help to be able to join labor unions and even advocate for their labor rights despite their undocumented status. Hence, if you are an undocumented farm worker you should know that you still have rights against employment and labor law abuse against your employer. You also have a right to participate in organized meetings for the protection and promotion of your labor law rights.
In obtaining your government issued I.D. and even your driver’s license, state law requires that you disclose your identity, to include your date of birth and your immigration status. It is justified that only those with valid immigrant status are the only people eligible to get government issued IDs for the security of the citizens. Illegal immigrants or undocumented individuals are hard to apprehend in case they commit any violations of law because of their lack of identities and status. Hence, if given government issued IDs they might use these IDs to commit fraud and other crimes after which, it would be hard to apprehend them for their lack of status.
Similar to that of obtaining government I.D.s, a person is required to show status prior to voting for obvious reasons. A person cannot say that he is denied his civil right if he is not a citizen or resident of the country in which he is requesting to vote. Not being a part of the sovereign, illegal immigrants are not allowed to participate in voting during the elections.
Even in the aspect of education, most states limit the rights of illegal immigrants from enrolling or paying state tuition rates for good reason. However, in California, under the DREAM Act, illegal immigrants are permitted by law to pay the same tuition fees being enjoyed by citizens and valid immigrants. As you can see, with regard to the educational institution and related benefits, the state of California is kind towards illegal immigrants who aside from being allowed to pay state rate tuition fees are also given the similar right to apply for and receive financial and aid benefits not allowed by other states.
Same goes for housing or rental provisions of illegal immigrants, California laws do not prohibit an undocumented person from entering into a lease agreement or rent of living space. Although this may encourage illegal immigrants from going home or fixing their undocumented status, California laws, as of date, do not provide for the curtailment of the right of said citizens from contracting a lease or rent of housing or living space.
If you are a citizen or a valid immigrant and you want to know more about your rights, or if you are an undocumented individual, you should immediately seek legal counsel from expert immigration lawyers to correct your status and be protected under the laws relating to your immigration issues.
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