Governor Newsom signs series of laws to support California’s immigrant communities and remove obsolete term “foreigner” from state codes


The governor signs AB 1096, which removes the derogatory term “foreigner” used to describe people born abroad

Governor also signs five more bills to protect the safety of California immigrants and strengthen protections against discrimination

SACRAMENTO – Continuing California’s commitment to welcoming and diverse communities, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed a series of bills expanding the state’s human immigration policies by providing protections and support to immigrants, including a new law to replace the outdated and derogatory term “foreigner” used to describe non-citizens in the California state code.

“As the most diverse state in the country, we are stronger and more vibrant because of our immigrant communities,” Governor Newsom said. “This important legislation removes the word ‘foreigner’, which is not only a term offensive to a human being, but which has for too long fueled a conflicting and hurtful narrative. By changing this term, we are ensuring that California laws reflect the values ​​of our state. “

AB 1096, written by Assembly member Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) will replace the word “foreigner” with language more representative of current legal terminology, such as “non-citizen” or “immigrant”. The term “alien” has been used to identify people who have not been born in the United States by the federal government since 1798 and in California since 1937. In the 1990s, the word “alien” began to be used as a political whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using traditionally racist language. In 2015, the term was officially changed to “non-citizen,” but “foreigner” is still widely used in many aspects of California law.

In addition to signing AB 1096, Governor Newsom signed a series of bills aimed at protecting the health and safety of immigrants, including legislation aimed at clarifying security standards in detention centers, ensuring rights and protection of unaccompanied undocumented minors and to strengthen the protection of immigrants who are victims of hate crimes. legislation.

California leads the country with immigrant-friendly policies that have triggered nationwide changes, including expanding access to higher education, expanding access to health care and public benefits, advancing the protection of immigrant workers, supporting immigrant students through partnerships with school districts, improving economic opportunities mobility and inclusion through access to driver’s licenses and pro bono immigration services.

Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan makes historic investments regardless of immigration status, delivering an additional $ 1,000 in stimulus checks to undocumented families through the expanded Golden State Stimulus; the largest tenant assistance program in the country; $ 5.2 billion to help low-income tenants cover their rent arrears and rent for several months to come; and $ 2 billion to help Californians pay their overdue utility bills. The California Comeback Plan also promulgates an unprecedented expansion of Medi-Cal to undocumented Californians over 50, giving them access to essential health services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, California made free COVID-19 testing and treatment available to all Californians, regardless of their insurance or immigration status. The state has also prioritized neighborhoods at high risk for COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate those most at risk of contracting the virus, reaching many communities with large immigrant populations. To support food and agriculture workers who have tested positive or exposed to COVID-19 and had no place to safely quarantine themselves, California created Housing for the Harvest, a first cadre of the country with FEMA who provided shelter and some 40 options for farm workers to isolate. The program was expanded to also provide home quarantine support and cash assistance to participants. California also created a first statewide public-private partnership to provide $ 150 million in disaster assistance to undocumented Californians. California’s $ 75 million investment reached 150,000 people statewide.

In addition to AB 1096, Governor Newsom also signed:

AB 263 from Assembly Member Dr Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) clarifying the requirement of private detention centers, including those used to house and detain immigrants in California, to comply with health orders local and state public. It also requires private operators to comply with Cal / OSHA workplace safety rules and regulations.

AB 600 by Assembly Member Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), who clarifies that the existing law includes immigration status in the definition of “nationality”, so that crimes against persons due to their immigration status is considered a hate crime.

AB 1140 by Assembly Member Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), which ensures that all children housed in state-approved facilities, including unaccompanied undocumented minors, will be under the jurisdiction of the office of the ombudsman of California Foster Care and thereby receive all the resources and protections to which they are entitled under state law.

SB 334 by Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), which demands that private for-profit detention facilities operating in California meet basic health and safety standards for those detained at these facilities and maintain minimum levels of insurance coverage related to medical care. professional liability and accountability for violations of civil rights.

SB 714 by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), who amends the California electoral code to allow aspiring citizens such as DREAMers to be nominated and elected as members of a county central committee.

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