CA Dream Act Goes into Effect

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SACRAMENTO -- Several key immigration laws went into effect Jan. 1, 2012. 

The first part of California's Dream Act, Assembly Bill 130, will provide access to private scholarships and financial aid to undocumented immigrants. To qualify students must attend for at least three years and have graduated from state high schools. The second part of the act, AB 131, which provides access to public aid for undocumented immigrants, goes into effect January 2013.

Some colleges like UC Berkeley have already started to announce the launch of the first part of the Dream Act.

Other immigration-related laws in the state include:

AB 353, which will allow time for drivers who are not licensed and are detained in sobriety checkpoints to call someone else to pick up their car so it does not have to be impounded;

AB 844, which allows undocumented students to gain a seat in the student government of a public university and receive any grant, scholarship or reimbursement for expenses incurred for the position;

AB 176, which allows students to take standardized tests for graduate school (e.g., GRE, LAST, MCAT and GMAT) even if they do not have driver's licenses, passports, residency cards or other standard identification documents;

AB 207, which authorizes parents to present alternative means of identification in order to enroll their children in school;

AB 1236, which prohibits state agencies and local governments from passing laws requiring the use of the controversial federal database E-Verify.

While California passed several laws protecting undocumented immigrants, various states took steps to crack down on immigration. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina are requiring employers who do business with any government agency to use E-Verify to check that all new employees are in the country legally.