If California lawmakers have their way, illegal immigrants residing in the Golden State could soon be eligible to serve on state and local government boards and commissions.
What are the details?
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) introduced California Senate Bill 174 on Monday that would amend eligibility requirements for California residents seeking to be appointed to government positions, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The bill would allow any California resident over the age of 18 to hold a position on a state or local commission or government board — regardless of their immigration status.
Currently, U.S. citizenship is a requirement to serve in California government.
"California is stronger when we utilize talents of all our residents, and opening state and local boards and commissions to every Californian will allow us to better serve our diverse communities," Lara said in a statement.
"Undocumented Californians are our neighbors, co-workers and parents, and as lawmakers we can’t make good policy if their voices are left out of the discussion," he explained.
He added that banning illegal immigrants from holding government positions is racist and dates back to the 19th century when Californians worked to ban Chinese immigrants from the California government.
Would they also be eligible for pay?
Each government board seeking to have an illegal immigrant among their ranks would need to examine federal law to determine if that person's immigration status allows them to be compensated, Lara's office told the Bee.
However, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — all of whom are not citizens — would be eligible for pay.