Living up to the American Dream, in California
SACRAMENTO, California — Growing up, I remember celebrating the 4th of July with my family. My parents would tell my brother, sister and me about the importance of fighting for justice for everyone in our nation, no matter where they were born.
We lived near the home of Cesar Chavez in La Paz, the headquarters for the United Farm Workers of America in the Central Valley. My parents worked alongside civil rights leaders like Chavez, Philip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco and Dolores Huerta, organizing Filipino and Mexican farmworkers in their struggle for fair treatment and better working conditions.
Today, as a California State Legislator, I am working to ensure that our state continues to live up to the dreams and values of my parents, which include Justice, Inclusion, Equity and Opportunity.
I worked to improve health care for vulnerable Californians and establish equal protections for farmworkers.
I introduced the TRUTH Act, signed into law last year, to protect immigrants and establish a transparent process, including community engagement, prior to local law enforcement participation in ICE deportation programs.
I am working to reform our bail system so justice isn’t based on how much money you have, and to put an end to private companies making a profit from incarcerating Californians.
Now more than ever, it is essential that immigrants have access to accurate information in their language and qualified legal services providers. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to fund the creation of regional and statewide resource centers for public defenders to gain immigration expertise, so that immigrants across the state have proper legal representation and can help to avoid unnecessary deportations.
But there are also steps that immigrant families can take now to find out what their legal options are. In fact, some undocumented immigrants already qualify for some form of immigration relief and don’t know it.
If you live or go to school in Oakland, you can access free or low-cost legal services through the Oakland Immigration Project. This trusted organization aims to help qualified Oakland immigrant families apply for immigration relief and work authorization to open the door to economic stability and success.
Just like a visit to the doctor, families can get an immigration check-up to see what their options are.
This 4th of July, I encourage immigrants to take an important step to benefit their entire family: go to a reputable legal services provider to find out if you might qualify for some form of immigration relief, and make sure you have the information you need to secure your future at this critical time.
Together, we will live up to the dream of all Americans who are fighting for the future of all of our families.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. To access free or low cost legal services in Oakland, go to: www.oaklandimmigrationproject.org.