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Building Equity Into Our Current and Future Economy


California is facing record low unemployment alongside a record high number of open jobs, over half of which require less than a bachelor’s degree. Yet employers continue to extend bachelor’s degree requirements to more jobs, shutting people out of current and future opportunities. Additionally, predictions about increased automation forecast that approximately 15 percent of the global workforce could be displaced by 2030, with low wage jobs being hit the hardest. Without effective organizing and progressive policy change, low-wage workers, including immigrants, will continue to bear the impact of economic inequality.

Meanwhile, as federal attacks increase and critical programs like DACA and TPS are under threat, independent contracting and entrepreneurship are some of the only opportunities that immigrants have left to work and achieve economic mobility. While self-employment and independent contracting offer certain advantages, such as flexibility, these workers are blocked from accessing basic labor protections and employee or tax benefits, even though they work and pay taxes.

CIPC believes that all immigrants should have the opportunity to work and that all workers work with dignity, safety and are able to access opportunity and economic mobility. With our partners, we are committed to developing a campaign and policy agenda that ensures the future of work benefits all.

Our Work

Uplifting the entrepreneurial spirit of California’s immigrants is vital for California’s future. From 2007 to 2011, immigrants created 45 percent of all new businesses in California, contributing to our state’s economic recovery following the recession in 2008. Despite this profound economic benefit that immigrants provide to our state, many immigrants are still unable to create a business or pursue high-earning careers and jobs due to barriers faced when applying for business or professional licenses. These barriers run counter to California’s efforts to strengthen our workforce and increase economic opportunity for all.

  • In 2014, alongside a group of immigrant rights allies, CIPC supported legislative advocacy to pass SB 1159 (Lara), which requires licensing boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs to accept an individual tax identification number in lieu of a social security number for professional licenses. This law went into effect January 1, 2016 and enables all California students who qualify to sit for specific licensing exams, including the California Bar Exam, and to become licensed upon passing the exams. The law also prohibits any entity within the department from denying licensure to an applicant based on his or her citizenship status or immigration status.
  • In 2018, CIPC and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area co-sponsored AB 2184 (Chiu), the Immigrant Business Inclusion Act, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 14, 2018. The law removes barriers to business ownership by requiring cities and counties to accept various forms of identification in lieu of a social security number for business license applications, including a California driver’s license or identification number, individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or a municipal ID. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2019.


For more information, please contact:

Layla Razavi
Policy Director