New Law Allows Undocumented Immigrants To Practice Health Care
A new California law (SB 1159) allows undocumented immigrants to practice the occupation they have been trained for, including those trained as dentists, doctors and nurses, KPCC's "Multi-American" reports (Huang, "Multi-American," KPCC, 9/29).
Details of Law
According to an estimate by the Public Policy Institute of California, about 1.85 million individuals in the state workforce are undocumented immigrants.
To obtain a medical license in California, applicants previously had to provide a valid Social Security number.
Under the new law, about 40 occupational licensing boards across the state would be able to accept a federal taxpayer identification number as proof of identification instead of a Social Security number (California Healthline, 5/12).
The new law was supported by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the American Civil Liberties Union and various immigrant rights groups.
Joseph Villela, a policy advocate at the Los Angeles-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, said, "This law will not only be incentive for those immigrant youth to finish that education. It makes sure that once they're finished, they have a way to exercise that profession by providing them with a license."
Advocates also say the law will prompt more immigrants to pay taxes.
However, Federation of American Immigration Reform spokesperson Ira Mehlman said the law violates federal rules. Mehlman added, "It's another example of California state government just completely obliterating any distinction between people legally present and those who are in violation of federal law" ("Multi-American," KPCC, 9/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.