Legislation introduced Tuesday would give about 400,000 undocumented immigrants in California the same rights as citizens to unemployment benefits and various other government services.
Assembly Bill 35 targets a select group of undocumented immigrants, participants in President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, who came to the United States as youth and have lived generally productive lives for numerous years.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation, effective Jan. 1, that enables participants in the federal program to obtain California driver's licenses. AB 35 would provide them with rights to a state ID card, unemployment benefits and state-administered medical services, among other things.
AB 35 was proposed by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, a West Covina Democrat who was named chairman of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee this month.
"California embodies the greatest diversity in the world," Hernandez said in a written statement. "We recognize we will need the collective skills and talents of these young immigrants to aid our state in reaching our true potential."
As labor committee chairman, Hernandez said, "I am ready to carry my part in making sure their integration into our workforce, economy and society becomes a reality."