SACRAMENTO – Governor Brown on Thursday signed Assembly Bill (AB) 21, a bill authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) that seeks to mitigate the impacts of potential federal changes to immigration enforcement policies, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to ensure DACA recipients have access to financial aid, legal representation and their constitutional right to due process.
Assemblymember Kalra held a press conference this morning at the San Jose State University campus, featuring a lineup of speakers in support of AB 21, including San Jose State University President, Mary A. Papazian, as well as Assistant Professor Patricia D. Lopez and Associated Students President Ariadna Manzo, both of the University.
Shortly following the press conference, Governor Brown made a formal announcement that he had signed a legislative immigration package, which includes AB 21.
“I am so proud that our Governor has signed Assembly Bill 21 into law and that he and our Legislature continue to demonstrate California’s leadership and stand against the tyranny of our current federal administration,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “AB 21 defends the tradition and legacy of California’s colleges and universities as beacons of free thought that challenge students in a peaceful and safe environment—where all students, regardless of their immigration status, may continue to take advantage of the education to which they are entitled, free from intimidation or risk of a loss of access to resources and programs that other students enjoy.”
AB 21, sponsored by the California Faculty Association (CFA) and joint-authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu and Patrick O’Donnell, requires the California State University, California Community Colleges, private colleges and universities in receipt of state funds, and requests the University of California to extend protections to students, faculty and staff of California’s colleges and universities who are undocumented and under threat of harassment and unjust prosecution and deportation.
“We are thrilled that this bill, which will help protect our most vulnerable students and colleagues, was signed into law,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan. “Our sincere thanks goes to Assemblymember Kalra for carrying this bill and working so hard on behalf of all Californians, and to Governor Brown for recognizing the need for these protections for those who not only belong, but are integral, to our state.”
The bill was passed by the Legislature with bipartisan support and has support from a variety of organizations, including the University of California, California State University, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities and the California State Student Association.