New California Measure to Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Hold Public Office
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
(Edited by Daibik Chakraborty)
On April 30, 2018, California Senate Bill 174 (SB174) was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara. The bill, co authored by Assembly Members Wendy Carrillo and David Chiu, would allow all California residents to serve on boards and commissions regardless of their immigration status. While the current California law states that a person must be a current California citizen at the time of their appointment into office, this bill will amend the existing state law to allow any California resident over the age of 18 regardless of their citizenship and immigration status to civil office. Earlier in the year on March 14, 2018, the state of California had appointed Lizbeth Mateo, an undocumented immigrant, to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee, which is an unpaid position on a 12 member advisory committee. The senate bill is currently being engrossed, which means it is being established into a finished state for a lawmaking body to vote on it.
Ricardo Lara and other supporters of the bill believe that it could help undocumented immigrants, who they believe make up a sizable portion of the population and deserve a voice in the matters of the state. The supporters believe that allowing undocumented immigrants to have a voice in the state would allow for better policies to the diverse Californian communities.
Critics of the bill believe that it is unfair to allow undocumented immigrants to serve on boards and commissions, as they have broken the law by entering the United States illegally. They believe that the privilege of holding office should only belong to legal citizens of California.