Republican Lawmakers Propose Health Care Restrictions
Assembly and Senate Republicans have proposed 25 bills this legislative session that seek to place restrictions on undocumented immigrants, including some legislation to prevent them from receiving state-funded health care and other services, the Contra Costa Times reports. Several studies estimate that more than 2.5 million undocumented immigrants live in California.
One bill (AB 2473) would require proof of U.S. residency before a person could receive state benefits for health care, welfare and unemployment. Other bills would place certain restrictions on businesses that hire undocumented immigrants and establish measures to study the costs associated with illegal immigration.
So far, none of the bills has passed this session, and "it is almost certain" that Democrats will block a majority of the bills, the Times reports. Congress is expected to act on federal immigration legislation within two weeks.
California lawmakers have not considered as many anti-illegal immigration bills since the 1993-1994 session, when only three were enacted. Voters in November 1994 then approved Proposition 187, which would have denied public benefits to illegal immigrants. The initiative was overturned by the courts.
Immigrant advocates are concerned that even if the legislation is introduced and rejected by lawmakers, voters could favor a ballot measure as they did with Proposition 187.
Assembly member Mark Wyland (R-Vista) has proposed a measure for the November ballot that would prohibit undocumented immigrants' use of public health care, social services and state universities and that would bar them from obtaining a driver's license (Garcia, Contra Costa Times, 3/29).