CIPC Celebrates Key Legislative and Budget Victories

After a long legislative season that coincided with a high-profile recall election and the ongoing pandemic, we celebrate the end of this year’s session in Sacramento. Alongside our partners and allies, CIPC collectively championed and garnered historic legislative and budgetary victories for California’s immigrant communities this year. 

With a deadline to sign or veto bills by October 10, 2021, Governor Newsom signed the following CIPC priority bills into law:

  • Private Detention Accountability Act (SB 334, Durazo). Signed by the Governor on September 24, 2021, SB 334 mandates that all private, for-profit prisons in California — including immigration detention centers — adhere to necessary federal, state, and local health and safety standards. SB 334 requires these facilities to provide regular health and safety compliance updates and carry insurance in the admitted California market – marking a step towards ensuring accountability and safeguarding the health and wellness of immigrants in these facilities.
  • Health and Safety for All Workers (SB 321, Durazo). Signed on September 27, 2021, SB 321 creates an advisory committee – inclusive of domestic workers, employers, and experts in the field of health and safety- that will institute the first ever health and safety guidelines specific to the domestic work industry in the state. 
  • Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative (AB 628, Garcia). Signed into law on September 27, 2021, AB 628 ensures equity and access to the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative, which funds community-based organizations (CBOs) and local workforce boards (LWDBs) to address systemic barriers in the labor market. 

These policy wins build upon important advances made in the annual state budget earlier this year, as detailed below. In addition, CIPC is proud to highlight partner-led policy campaigns we supported which resulted in critical legislation signed into law by the Governor. 

Congratulations to everyone involved in these historic efforts! Thank you to our partners, community members, champions and allies who pushed to remove unjust exclusions to basic rights, and advocated for bold investments so that immigrant communities can thrive. And a heartfelt thank you to our team at CIPC, who worked tirelessly to achieve these critical wins.

Please support CIPC as we prepare for next year’s legislative session and as we continue to push for systems change that ensures a stronger California for everyone.

In solidarity, 

Connie Choi
Policy Director 

The California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) is a statewide immigrant rights organization that advocates for policies that protect and advance the rights of immigrants and their families throughout California. CIPC combines legislative and policy advocacy, strategic communications, statewide organizing, and regional coalition capacity building to pursue its mission of advocating for policies that uphold the humanity of immigrants and refugees while advancing racial, social, and economic justice.

Economic Justice 

Earlier this year, CIPC and its partners successfully advocated for immigrant tax filers with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to be included in both rounds of direct stimulus payments to Californians through the new Golden State Stimulus (GSS) program. To date, almost 600,000 ITIN filing households have received over $650 million in direct relief. 

With pandemic-related job losses highest among immigrants and low-income workers of color in California, $30 million were also allocated in state workforce development funding for the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative, for community-based organizations and local workforce boards to address systemic barriers in the labor market. 

In addition to our priority bills above, we celebrate the enactment of key bills championed by our partners that will strengthen workers’ rights and safety for California’s immigrant workers, including: 

  • Garment Worker Protection Act (SB 62, Durazo). Signed into law on September 27, 2021, SB 62 protects garment workers in the nation’s largest fashion manufacturing hub, and makes California the first state to require minimum wages for garment workers and ban piece-rate compensation. It will also protect garment workers from exploitation by ensuring that brands are held jointly liable for stolen wages, preventing big fashion brand companies from wage theft or underpaying workers for the items they make. This bill addresses a historically inequitable system and will transform the lives of more than 45,000 garment workers in California, a majority of whom currently only make one third of the minimum wage. Congrats to garment workers throughout the state!
  • Warehouse Distribution Centers (AB 701, Gonzalez). Signed by the Governor on September 22, 2021, AB 701 fortifies warehouse workers’ rights by requiring employers to disclose production quotas and prohibits quotas that deteriorate workers’ health and safety, especially in regards to taking breaks. It creates much-needed transparency around work quotas and line speeds for warehouse companies like Walmart and Amazon, two of California’s largest employers who rake in billions in profit while scores of workers are injured on the job or arbitrarily punished by management. AB 701 also expands the regulatory oversight of the Labor Commissioner, and allows workers to sue to overturn unsafe quotas. 
  • Workplace Safety (SB 606, Gonzalez). Signed on September 27, 2021, SB 606 authorizes Cal/OSHA to cite employers for workplace violations across multiple worksites, expanding the agency’s oversight and regulatory powers. 

Detention & Deportation

In addition to SB 334, CIPC celebrates the following victories that further our goal of dismantling the arrest-to-deportation pipeline and ensuring the safety and wellness of immigrants, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the state: 

  • Expanding Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants (AB 1259, Chiu). Signed on September 30, 2021, AB 1259 extends an existing post-conviction relief procedure currently available to people convicted by plea agreement to people who were convicted or sentenced by jury trial. Many immigrants suffer convictions without having any idea that their criminal record would, at some point in the future, result in mandatory immigration imprisonment and deportation. AB 1259 ensures that all immigrants have the opportunity to present evidence of invalidity to a court. This bill would keep more California families whole and prevent deportations based on faulty legal grounds.
  • Health Oversight and Leadership in Detention Act (AB 263, Arambula). Signed into law on September 24, 2021, the HOLD Act ensures that all detention facilities in our state follow local or state public health orders and provide a safe workplace for their employees.  
  • Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021 (SB 2, Bradford). Signed on September 30, 2021, SB 2 reins in police misconduct by providing for independent investigation and decertification of police officers committing serious misconduct, and providing remedies to victims and their families by eliminating inappropriate immunities that are often used to evade accountability.

Health & Public Benefits 

California made history this year by removing Medi-Cal exclusions to all income-eligible Californians ages 50 and above, regardless of immigration status, beginning May 1, 2022. This makes California the most inclusive state in the nation in terms of Medicaid eligibility, and builds on our prior #Health4All campaign wins that removed the exclusion of youth and children ages 0-26 from Medi-Cal, making our health care system stronger for everyone in California. The budget includes an annual allocation for this coverage that is expected to grow to $1.3 billion in the General Fund by 2024, which includes In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). The administration estimates this would newly extend full-scope coverage to roughly 235,000 individuals annually. 

The 2021-2022 state budget also included $30 million in the General Fund over the next two years for programming costs to prepare for a possible future expansion of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to immigrants currently excluded from the program. This investment will help us lay the groundwork for our inaugural #Food4All campaign, which seeks to expand access to nutritional services to millions of Californians experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

We also celebrate the signing of SB 65:

  • Momnibus Act (SB 65, Skinner). Signed on October 4, 2021, the Momnibus Act re-imagines maternal health in order to improve perinatal outcomes, closes racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and improves data and research on socioeconomic factors that contribute to negative birth outcomes. Some of the benefits include doula coverage and one-year post-partum coverage in Medi-Cal. Although California has reduced the rates of maternal mortality over the past 30 years, mortality and morbidity for Black and Indigenous/Native American pregnant people, women, and infants remain considerably higher than the state’s average. Research points to structural racism as well as socioeconomic factors contributing to the racial and geographic disparities seen in birthing outcomes of people of color.

Immigrant Inclusion 

CIPC is proud to continue leading the One California network to expand critical legal services to underserved immigrant communities throughout the state. The final budget provided an additional $30 million disbursement over 2 years to directly support legal services provision, outreach and education, and technical assistance. This builds on an annual allocation of $45 million to support the One California program in the General Fund. Furthermore, a one-time investment of $25 million to provide DACA and naturalization filing fee coverage was added to the final budget. 

The state budget also provides an additional $25 million to support legal services and programs that assist unaccompanied youth and children (building upon $20 million provided by philanthropy). It includes $105.2 million for a Rapid Response Program to support entities that provide critical assistance and services to immigrants during emerging situations that require state funds, in order to bridge the gap when federal funding is not available.