Standing Up For Immigrant Communities
Kamala Harris knows that California and the nation are stronger today because of the generations of Americans who came to this country in search of a better life. She’s the daughter of immigrants and knows that embracing our diversity makes the fabric of our society stronger, our economy more innovative, and our community more inclusive.
Kamala believes that everyone should have access to public education, public health, and public safety regardless of their immigration status. As San Francisco District Attorney and now California’s Attorney General, she has fought for justice on behalf of immigrants who are targeted by criminals based on their immigration status. As Attorney General, she warned immigrants seeking drivers’ licenses against scammers, and she demanded thousands of hours of pro bono legal aid worth millions of dollars from the state’s largest and most powerful law firms for immigrant children and families caught in legal limbo.
In the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that creates a fair pathway to citizenship. She’ll work on behalf of DREAMers who know no other home than America, and she compassionately and responsibly welcomes those fleeing violence.
- Finally Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Congress has repeatedly refused to pass comprehensive immigration reform that protects our borders and provides a fair and just pathway to citizenship. This failure has hurt our economy, made it harder for our businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and hamstrung local and state governments’ ability to meet the needs of their communities. Worse yet, Washington’s failure has forced more than 11 million undocumented immigrants to live, work, and raise a family in the shadows of our society. That’s unconscionable. Bringing these workers out of the shadows will strengthen the economy, grow the GDP, and reduce federal deficits and debt. Comprehensive immigration reform will increase productivity and wages. With comprehensive reform, all workers will benefit from protections in the workplace, and reform will spur innovation, entrepreneurship, and encourage job growth. Kamala will fight hard to pass immigration reform in Washington, and she will take on those who stand in the way.
- Protect President Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions: The only way to truly fix our immigration system is to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but the President’s recent executive actions offer some relief to millions of families living in our country. Kamala has fought to protect these actions as Attorney General, and in Washington, she will block attempts in Congress to dismantle them without action on comprehensive reform.
- DREAMing Of A Better Tomorrow: Over the last several decades, millions of undocumented children were brought to America by their parents and don’t know any country other than the United States as home. These young people want to fully participate in the American dream. Thanks to the President’s actions, many of them now have a temporary reprieve from the fear of deportation, but a more permanent solution is needed. Here in California, Kamala supported the California DREAM Act, which allows undocumented students to access financial aid at public universities and community colleges. In the Senate, Kamala will support a federal DREAM Act, which would create a fair pathway to citizenship for DREAMers who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces or graduated from high school and pursue higher education.
- Build Trust Between Immigrant Communities & Law Enforcement: Some criminals prey on immigrants, relying on them not to report crimes to law enforcement officers because of their immigration status – a prospect made all the more real by the failure to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. When criminals can get away with victimizing entire segments of the population, it makes all of us unsafe and weakens our society. Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Kamala has fought to bring these criminals to justice and to ensure that immigrants feel safe in their communities so they can report crimes. As Attorney General, she challenged federal policy that attempted to turn local law enforcement into de facto Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and supported law enforcement to build relationships of trust with the communities they serve in order to improve public safety. In the Senate, Kamala will encourage law enforcement agencies both to strengthen protections for immigrants who report crimes without fear of deportation and to seek justice against criminals who target immigrants.
- Fighting Scams & Fraud That Target Immigrant Families: As Attorney General, Kamala has prosecuted scam artists and criminals who target immigrant families. She’s provided guidance to and warned consumers against unauthorized immigration consultants. In the Senate, she’ll continue fighting to protect immigrant communities and make sure immigrants, regardless of status, know they have access to our justice system.
- A Place Of Hope & Opportunity For Those Fleeing Oppression: Kamala believes that we have a moral obligation to responsibly resettle refugees who flee violence and oppression in their own countries. That’s why, as Attorney General, she brought together California’s top law firms and secured millions of dollars and thousands of hours worth of pro bono legal aid to help the unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America in search of peace and stability in the United States. And now we should not turn our backs on those who are most harmed by ISIS. Kamala believes that we should responsibly resettle refugees who flee violence and oppression in their own country. We don’t have to sacrifice our compassion for our national security, and we shouldn’t let the violent images from Paris blind us to the images of the child who washed ashore on a Mediterranean beach. Refugees should rightly submit to the most rigorous background checks and screenings possible, and we should prioritize the most vulnerable refugees for admission – survivors of torture and violence, those with severe medical conditions, and women and children.
- Stop Wage Theft & Protect Immigrant Workers: Kamala believes strongly in the protection of workers’ rights for all Californians, regardless of immigration status. All individuals are eligible for minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and other workplace protections. As Attorney General, Kamala established and expanded the Underground Economy Unit within her Civil Rights Enforcement Section in order to increase enforcement of state worker protection laws. She filed suit and obtained more than $1 million from eight Northern and Southern California car washes that underpaid workers, denied rest and meal breaks, and created false records of time worked. She also has aggressively pursued litigation against a Southern California trucking company for misclassifying its employees as independent contractors so the company could avoid paying a minimum wage, workers compensation, and business expense reimbursements. Kamala’s prosecution of the case resulted in a landmark 2014 California Supreme Court decision that allows the state to hold accountable trucking companies for violations of state worker protection laws. As Senator, she will work hard to ensure that important workplace protections are strengthened and enforced, keeping our economy strong and the playing field level for all businesses.