California Proposes Unemployment Benefits for Immigrants

Immigrants to Benefit from Proposed Unemployment Bill in California

/ 03:01 AM May 17, 2023

California has always been a melting pot of diversity and innovative regulations. In its current legislative endeavor, the state is working on an unemployment bill that will extend unemployment benefits to undocumented immigrants.

Yes, you read it right. The state is actively proposing a bill to extend help to those who have entered the US illegally. The California unemployment bill is set to be reviewed this week.

Formally known as the Safety Net for Workers Act or SB 227, the law comes just in time for the potential surge of migrant arrivals after Title 42’s expiration.

The Senate Committee on Labor has detailedly analyzed the planned Safety Net for Workers Act (SB227.) The committee cited that the bill gives clear restrictions for the Employment Development Department (EDD) in managing the program.

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What the California Unemployment Bill (SB 227) Restricts

  1. Inquiries about Birthplace or Nationality: The legislation strictly doesn’t allow any attempt, whether written or spoken, to ask for information about an individual’s birthplace, nationality, and eligibility for a social security number.
  2. Inquiries about Lawful Presence: The EDD is not allowed to force or ask an individual to confess, in writing, if they have proof of legalities in the US.
  3. Employer Contract: The EDD cannot contact an individual’s former, current, or potential employer for any reason. They also can’t include employment status proof. However, it’s important to note that EDD can still verify previous employment using alternative methods.
  4. Recording Citizenship or Immigration Status: The proposed bill prohibits the EDD from recording any person’s citizenship or immigration status.

This bill proposes giving state-funded help of $300 per week to unemployed immigrants for up to 20 weeks. The legislation’s sponsor, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, highlighted the importance of the economic contributions of undocumented immigrants in California.

You may also like: Employees don’t need to disclose immigration status in court

Durazo said, “Undocumented immigrants are integral to California’s economic prosperity, playing crucial roles in sectors like agriculture, construction, and apparel.”

She continued, “However, these individuals continue to be excluded from enjoying the state’s economic success due to their exclusion from safety net programs.”

Despite the possible benefits of the bill, not everybody is on board. California Governor Gavin Newsom supported a similar bill before. He noted “operational issues and fiscal concerns.”

In addition, this decision comes at this point when California is having financial struggles. The state’s budget loss was projected to be at $10 billion, but it had increased to almost $32 billion.

Impact on Border Crossings

As the discussion over the California unemployment bill continues, the border status remains unstable. Last week, reports showed 83,000 migrants have crossed the border.

However, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas highlighted a 50% decline in border entries over the weekend. In addition, The New York Times reported that nearly 15,000 migrants have flocked to Tijuana while waiting for the expiration of Title 42.

As the discussion about the California unemployment bill unfolds, it’s proof that the issue of immigration is still a heated issue. The impact of this legislation could have deep implications for shaping the future of both the nation and the state.

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TAGS: California, Immigrants, Trending, unemployment benefits
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