Impact and Analysis of the New Immigration Reform Measures Passed in California

On October 5, 2013, the California legislature passed and Governor of California, Jerry Brown, signed into law several immigration reform bills. These bills will have immediate and significant consequences as to how undocumented individuals are expected to be treated, and the rights that undocumented individuals are now prescribed by law. These reforms will have an effect on not only immigration law, but also employment law, business law, criminal law, constitutional law, education law, and many other fields. There will also be significant litigation ahead to test the limits and parameters of this California legislation. Below, each one of these bills is described in more detail. If you have questions or concerns regarding new immigration law developments, please contact Theta Law Firm. The list below is not meant to encompass all immigrations reforms.

  • AB524 - Provides that a threat to report the immigration status or suspected immigration status of an individual or the individuals family may induce fear sufficient to constitute extortion. This bill clarifies the existing law of what can constitute extortion.[1]

  • AB1024 - Provides that the Supreme Court of California is given the authority to admit to the practice of law an applicant who is not lawfully present in the United States, upon certification that the applicant has fulfilled all the requirements necessary for admission to the State Bar of California.[2]

  • AB1159 - Provides that lawyers and consultants performing services under the pending federal immigration reform act abide by appropriate business practices. This bill is aimed at protecting those seeking immigration services from unscrupulous and fraudulent practices, especially by non-lawyers. Among other provisions, the bill also prohibits advance payments for promises of quicker citizenship processing and requires a disclaimer on contracts for immigration reform services in the native language of the client about how to report immigration fraud.[3]

  • AB35 - Provides that an attorney, immigration consultant, notary public, and an organization accredited by the United States Board of Immigration Appeals shall be the only people authorized to charge clients or prospective clients a fee for providing services linked to filing an application under the immigration deferred action program. This bill also bans price gouging by anyone for these services. This bill also expands unemployment benefits to those that were granted deferred action under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and worked while they were in the receipt of valid employment authorization from the federal government.[4]

  • AB4 - Also known as the "TRUST Act", the bill provides that a law enforcement official cannot detain an individual on the basis of a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody, unless at the time the individual is eligible for release, certain conditions are met. An individual may be detained if the individual has been convicted of a serious or violent felony, the individual has been convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, the individual has been convicted within the past five years of a misdemeanor for a crime that is punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, or the individual has been convicted at any time of certain set out felonies. There are more conditions and a list of specific crimes that make an individual eligible to be held by ICE listed within the statute. [5] Consult with an attorney at Theta Law Firm for more details.

  • SB141 - This bill would exempt a student who is a United States citizen who resides in a foreign country and who meets all set-out requirements from non-resident tuition at the California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California. The student must (1) demonstrate financial need for an exemption, (2) have a parent who has been deported or who was allowed to depart the country voluntarily, (3) have moved abroad as a result of that deportation or voluntary departure, (4) lived in California immediately before moving abroad, (5) attended a public or private secondary school in the state for 3 or more years, and (6) will be in the first academic year as a matriculated student in a California public higher education college or university. This bill allows an individual that meets the above criteria to pay in-state tuition in all public higher education California institutions.[6]

  • SB150 - Provides that with the passage of the companion bill SB141, a community college district can exempt a special part-time student from having to pay non-resident tuition. Essentially, this bill allows individuals that meet the SB141 criteria that are attending community college part time to pay in-state tuition for their studies.[7]

  • SB666 - Provides that an employer's business license is subject to suspension or revocation for retaliation against employees, former employees, prospective employees, or their family members on the basis of citizenship and immigration status. The bill also prohibits an employer from using citizenship and immigration status to hinder an employee from exercising his or her designated employment or civil rights. This bill also expands protected conduct to include a written or oral complaint by an employee alleging that he or she is owed unpaid wages. An employer faces up to a $10,000 civil penalty per violation of the provisions set out in SB666. Business owners and employers would be well advised to consult an attorney at Theta Law Firm regarding SB666. An attorney could provide valuable information regarding how to get into compliance with the SB666 provisions, how it will impact everyday business practices, and how to stave off potentially costly and damaging lawsuits.[8]
*Note that most of these bills and the provisions within them became effective on January 1, 2014.

[1] Full text of AB 524 available at:
[2] Full text of AB 1024 available at:
[3] Full text of AB 1159 available at:
[4] Full text of AB 35 avaialable at:
[5] Full text of AB 4 available at:
[6] Full text of AB 141 available at:
[7] Full text of AB 150 available at:
[8] Full text of SB 666 available at:

You can reach an attorney at Theta Law Firm by calling us or sending us an email at Theta Law Firm can represent clients all across the State of California, including in any of the following counties: Alameda | Alpine | Amador | Butte | Calaveras | Colusa | Contra Costa | Del Norte | El Dorado | Fresno | Glenn | Humboldt | Imperial | Inyo | Kern | Kings | Lake | Lassen | Los Angeles | Madera | Marin | Mariposa | Mendocino | Merced | Modoc | Mono | Monterey | Napa | Nevada | Orange | Placer | Plumas | Riverside | Sacramento | San Benito | San Bernardino | San Diego | San Francisco | San Joaquin | San Luis Obispo | San Mateo | Santa Barbara | Santa Clara | Santa Cruz | Shasta | Sierra | Siskiyou | Solano | Sonoma | Stanislaus | Sutter | Tehama | Trinity | Tulare | Tuolumne | Ventura | Yolo | Yuba