While numerous laws are taking effect across the nation now that it is 2013, one state is serving as the great experimental 'melting pot' for some controversial legislation. California, with its large and populous immigrant communities is including some immigration policies to these experimental legislative initiatives.
California, disappointed with the failure of the federal government to pass the Dream Act, is initiating its own version in one particular area - financial aid at state universities. The Dream Act would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who came to the United States prior to turning 16, finished high school, and didn't have criminal records.
While the original dream of the Dream Act died in Congress, California legislation is keeping aspects of it alive by allowing these young adults and opportunity to receive financial aid for their studies at state universities. While most states are constricting their immigration policies in order to further protect their borders and employment opportunities, California is bucking the trend and attempting to expand those policies to be more inclusive.
With no clear path to citizenship yet for illegal immigrants currently in the United States, legislative attempts such as the Dream Act are an effort in the right direction. Until legislation is created for such a means to legal status, California is content going it alone if they must in an attempt to lead the way on immigration reform. Only time will be able to tell us whether or not these experiments can later be considered successful.
Someone who is currently facing uncertainty due to their citizenship status should seek the advice of an attorney practiced in immigration and naturalization law. Working with an attorney on immigration and citizenship proceedings can give you peace of mind and help to clarify the complex issues that await you.
Source: businessweek.com, "California's New Laws Serve as Policy Experiments," Elizabeth Dwoskin, Dec. 31, 2012