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halderman.jpgA Fresno Republican has joined forces with a Coachella Democrat to push legislation aimed at granting worker permits for undocumented immigrants who have been living for years in California.

Republican Linda Halderman and Democrat V. Manuel Perez are co-authors of the measure, Assembly Bill 1544. They jointly shared their views in an opinion article in today's Bee.

The two Assembly members said it's time to end the predictable chorus of "Deport them all!" from the political right wing, and "Amnesty for all!" from liberal Democrats.

"We're tired of waiting for a federal solution," they wrote. "We're tired of politics as usual. And so we are taking a risk."

AB 1544 would not confer legal status, but it would create a permit process that would remove the fear of deportation for undocumented workers and their families. It also would allow businesses to hire such workers in the agricultural and service industries.

The measure would require approval by the federal government, which oversees enforcement of immigration law.

Before issuing permits under the proposal, the state Employment Development Department would be required to certify that there are not enough legal California residents willing to fill open jobs in the agricultural and service industries - such as janitorial or housekeeping.

Permits then could be issued to undocumented workers who have worked at least 863 hours, or earned at least $7,500 in California during a 24-month period ending Dec. 31, 2008. Participants must undergo a background check and be proficient in, or learning, the English language. They also must pay a fee to administer the program.

No legislative hearing has yet been held on AB 1544.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblywoman Linda Halderman, R-Fresno. Monday, Dec. 6, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua


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