SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Evan Low (D–Silicon Valley) introduced AB 2113 last week, which would assist immigrant refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders seeking economic opportunity in California by requiring their professional licensing applications to be expedited.
Under federal law, refugees may be granted asylum in the United States if they are fleeing war or persecution. Special Immigrant Visas are also available to persons who have assisted or worked with the United States Armed Forces in conflict zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the federal government has taken aggressive measures against refugees in recent years – including enacting travel bans, suspending access to asylum, and enforcing child separation policies at the border for families fleeing violence.
“Since taking office, the Trump administration continues to maliciously scapegoat immigrants to promote its dangerous xenophobic agenda – making it harder for refugee families fleeing violence to build new and productive lives” said Assemblymember Low. “While the President continues its cruel policies towards immigrants, AB 2113 will ensure that California is a place where the most vulnerable can find the opportunities to thrive and succeed.”
Even for immigrants who served alongside U.S. troops in conflict zones and were granted Special Immigrant Visas, research shows that they face significant challenges in the United States. A February 2018 report by the federal Government Accountability Office determined that SIVs faced significant challenges finding skilled employment after resettling in the United States.
AB 2113 would extend existing programs for expedited professional licensure under the Department of Consumer Affairs, aiming to provide economic stability for families seeking refuge in California.