Illegal Immigrants Benefit from New Laws

Dozens of laws now in effect

Alejandra Ramos is in her third year at Cal State University San Marcos. The oldest of three children, she will be the first in her family to get a college degree and without documentation.

“Trying to hold down any sort of job especially when you're undocumented it's hard,” said the 21-year-old.

But with the Dream Act going into effect this year, she and thousands of other undocumented students will be able to apply for private financial aid.

"It's a small step but I think it was really something that was like telling,” said Ramos.

Even more telling is that this law is one of at least a dozen other immigration laws taking effect in California this year that will benefit thousands of illegal immigrants.

The state will no longer tow unlicensed drivers at DUI checkpoints, which some say, will only encourage illegal immigrants to continue driving without proper documentation. But supporters beg to differ.

"We have children who want to go to school, we have parents who want to drive them to school, let's allow that to happen,” said Christian Ramirez with the American Friends Service Committee, an immigrants rights organization.

Two other bills will allow undocumented students to pursue their education endeavors. AB 207 will allow parents to show different types of identification, like property tax receipts and pay stubs, to prove their child's residency.

AB 176 will allow high school students to show unofficial identification when taking college entrance exams like the SAT.

While Ramos says her future still remains uncertain, for now she feels a sense of justice. 

"There is that thing that says these people are human too they deserve to have rights and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," she said.

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