BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  March 25, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          60 (Gonzalez) - As Amended March 19, 2015


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          Urgency:  Yes State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill extends existing protections against fraud related to  
          providing immigration reform-related services, as a result of  
          Congressional action, to also apply to reform arising from  








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          executive actions. Specifically, this bill:   


          1)Revises the definition of an "immigration reform act" to  
            include the President's November 2014 executive actions on  
            immigration, or any future executive action or order,  
            authorizing an undocumented immigrant who either entered the  
            United States without inspection or who did not depart after  
            the expiration of a nonimmigrant visa to attain a lawful  
            status under federal law. Further requires the State Bar to  
            announce and post on its website when such an executive action  
            or order has been issued.
          2)Clarifies that "immigration reform act services" do not  
            include legal services that have an independent value apart  
            from the preparation of an immigration reform act and other  
            related initial processes, such as assisting a client in  
            preventing removal from the United States.  


          3)Prohibits attorneys and immigration consultants from demanding  
            or accepting advance payment of any funds from a person for  
            specified immigration reform act services.


          4)Clarifies that any advance payment of funds for immigration  
            reform act services received after October 5, 2013(the date  
            that AB 1159 [see below] became effective), but before the  
            enactment or implementation of the immigration reform act for  
            which the services were sought, shall be refunded to the  
            client promptly, but no later than 30 days after the receipt  
            of the funds.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)Violations by attorneys and immigration consultants of the  
            underlying statutes amended by this bill are misdemeanors, and  
            immigration consultants are also subject to civil penalties.  








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            This bill could therefore result in addition non-reimbursable  
            costs to local governments for prosecution, offset to some  
            extent by fine revenue. In addition, there could be minor  
            state and local revenue increases from civil actions brought  
            against immigration consultants by the Attorney General or  
            local prosecutors for violations of the bill's provisions.



          2)This bill will not result in any additional state costs beyond  
            the minor one-time costs previously identified to implement AB  
            1159.





          COMMENTS:


          1)Background. On June 27, 2013, the United States Senate passed  
            S. 744, known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity,  
            and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. On July 10, 2013,  
            AB 1159 (Gonzalez) was amended to guard against immigration  
            services fraud upon those seeking potential relief under  
            S.744, should it have ultimately become federal law.  AB 1159  
            was signed by Governor Brown as an urgency measure and its  
            protections took effect on October 5, 2013.  However, S. 744  
            was never passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and died  
            later in the 113th Congress. On November 20, 2014, President  
            Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration. 



          2)Purpose. On December 10, 2014, this bill was introduced to  
            further the objectives of AB 1159 and protect consumers  
            seeking immigration services in connection with the  
            President's executive actions. (These executive actions are  
            currently on hold pursuant to a preliminary injunction issued  








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            by a federal court in Texas.) 

            According to the author, various services in anticipation of  
            prospective but uncertain immigration reform are being  
            targeted to Spanish-speaking immigrants. The author and  
            supporters indicate that a large number of people are at risk  
            of exploitation, given the potential size of the immigrant  
            pool that may be affected. Undocumented immigrants may be  
            particularly vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous businesses  
            and individuals because of the risks they face in asserting  
            their rights as consumers and victims of fraud or other  
            wrongdoing.  The bill is strongly supported by immigrant  
            advocates, City of Los Angeles officials, civil rights  
            organizations, and labor, among others.





          3)Opposition. The Southern California Chapter of the American  
            Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) argues the bill is  
            overly broad and "will further deter future immigration  
            attorneys from entering into this field to begin with,  
            directly reducing the amount of competent immigration  
            attorneys willing and available to help serve this  
            population."



          Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081
















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