SACRAMENTO, CA–Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus (D-Bell Gardens), Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez, Vice-Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus (D-Coachella) and members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus held the Caucus’ first public informational briefing on the status of a comprehensive immigration reform. Individuals and organizations from different sectors of the state gathered to hear a historical narrative of immigration reform and were provided a forum to voice comments and concerns.
“The power and importance of a comprehensive immigration reform was reflected in the diversity of individuals and organizations that came to today’s hearing. From the agriculture industry, to labor community, the message is clear- immigration reform is critical to our economy, our communities and our social fabric,” stated Senator Lara. “I would like to thank everyone who participated, particularly Governor Brown and my Republican colleagues. The Caucus now looks forward to assimilating all of these recommendations and moving forward a united Caucus position to Congress.”
Despite being home to approximately 10 million immigrants, California has not put forward a bold comprehensive approach to fully integrate New Americans into our state. Historically the nation launched a movement involving federal, state and local governments, business, labor, unions, schools and social organizations to help integrate immigrants or New Americans into society. Currently, however, few of these programs exist or are poorly funded and uncoordinated.
At the state level, immigrants pay roughly $5.2 billion in state income taxes and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year. Additionally, the State’s local economies benefit from economic contributions of immigrants. It is vital that California be ready to receive and help integrate New Americans when immigration reform is passed.
“With our large immigrant population and an economy so reliant on the immigrant workforce, California has an important role to play in helping to shape the immigration reform debate,” said Assemblymember Pérez, who chairs the Latino Caucus Taskforce on Immigration Reform. “Today’s briefing, with its diverse stakeholder perspectives, has helped enrich understanding, promote dialogue, and find areas of common ground that will help the Immigration Taskforce focus on key policy elements within the debate where the Latino Caucus can engage with a unified voice.”
Comprehensive Immigration reform is a top priority for the California Latino Legislative Caucus and one of the most important policy issues of our time. Given the importance of this topic, the Caucus created a Taskforce spearheaded by Vice-Chair Pérez. The Taskforce is comprised of Latino Caucus members and is advised by a coordinating committee comprised of representatives from labor, business, agriculture and civil rights organizations. This is the first briefing the Taskforce has held this year.