Like many other states, California has implemented measures to help out immigrants. For example, California is one of 13 states that now allows for undocumented immigrants to have access to driver's licenses.
Across the country there has also been state legislation passed that would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition - this rather than pay the higher out-of-state rates. There has also been at least one measure that would allow for undocumented students to qualify for state financial aid.
"There is a move away from enforcement measures to measures that support immigrants, such as in-state tuition and driver's licenses," stated the director of the National Conference of State Legislature's immigration policy project. This group also plans on releasing a report concerning the laws and resolutions in 2013 that were passed by states.
As immigrant attorneys, we will have to wait and see what changes will be made in future years. However, benefits made available for immigrants could ultimately be life-changing events. Even efforts made to help immigrants receive better wages and employment opportunities can benefit states rather than drain state finances.
Those supporting such legislation feel that helping young immigrant people receive a decent education will ultimately lead to a better state economy as well. Graduates from college will more likely earn good salaries and add money to state treasuries through taxes that are paid. There are still those opposed to such legislation that claim these measures award illegal behavior. Yet it must be kept in mind that these legislative efforts often benefit individuals who came to the United States as young children.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "States Take Lead in Boosting Immigration," Miriam Jordan, Jan. 21, 2014