With new immigration proposals, state lawmakers hope to build momentum

Democratic lawmakers will unveil a slew of new immigration-related proposals Tuesday, including measures that would extend state-paid health coverage to those in the country illegally and offer more protection against deportation.

Legislators behind the 10-bill package aim to build on the landmark immigration laws passed in California in recent years, such as one that allows people without legal residency to obtain driver’s licenses.

By keeping momentum on immigrant-aid policies, legislative leaders said, they hoped to spur liberalization of immigration laws nationwide.

“Our message to other states and to members of Congress in Washington, D.C., is that there’s nothing to be afraid of,” said Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “What is it that we fear in embracing the millions of human beings that are already living in our communities?”

The most far-reaching of the new proposals would offer enrollment in Medi-Cal — California’s healthcare program for the poor — to people who qualify regardless of immigration status.

In California, about 1.8 million people who are in the country illegally lack healthcare coverage, according to estimates by UC Berkeley and UCLA. About 1.5 million of them would qualify for Medi-Cal.

Joe Guzzardi of the group Californians for Population Stabilization, which calls for strict enforcement of immigration laws, decried benefits such as healthcare coverage for those without papers, saying they increase the strain put on the state by immigration.

“It doesn’t make any sense to keep on reaching out and encouraging more illegal immigration into California,” Guzzardi said.

“More people into California means more water consumption, more resource depletion, more traffic on the roads, more urban sprawl — that’s beyond question but it doesn’t seem to bother [lawmakers].”

Source Article from http://latimes.com.feedsportal.com/c/34336/f/625246/s/452cb1a0/sc/7/l/0L0Slatimes0N0Cabout0Cla0Eme0Epol0Eimmigration0Elegislature0E20A150A40A70Estory0Bhtml0Dtrack0Frss/story01.htm
With new immigration proposals, state lawmakers hope to build momentum
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