BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                         AB 60|
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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 60
          Author:   Gonzalez (D), et al.
          Amended:  5/22/15 in Senate
          Vote:     27  - Urgency

          SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  7-0, 5/5/15
          AYES:  Jackson, Moorlach, Anderson, Hertzberg, Leno, Monning,  
          Wieckowski

          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  Senate Rule 28.8

          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  77-0, 4/13/15 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Immigration services


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill clarifies the existing prohibition on the  
          advance payment of fees for immigration reform act services  
          before the enactment of an immigration reform act, as specified,  
          by expanding the definition of "immigration reform act" to  
          include the President's executive actions on immigration, as  
          specified, and makes related conforming changes.  




          Senate Floor Amendments of 5/22/15 make clarifying and  
          conforming changes; and add coauthors.


          ANALYSIS:   









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          Existing law:


          1)Requires all attorneys who practice law in California to be  
            members of the State Bar of California (State Bar) and  
            establishes the State Bar for the purpose of regulating the  
            legal profession.  


          2)Provides that it is unlawful for an attorney to demand or  
            accept advance payment of any funds from a person for  
            immigration reform act services before the enactment of an  
            immigration reform act.  Any funds received after the  
            effective date of the section, but, before the enactment of an  
            immigration reform act, must be promptly refunded to the  
            client, as specified.  


          3)Provides that:


                 if an attorney providing immigration reform act services  
               accepted funds prior to the effective date of the section,  
               and the services provided in connection with payment of  
               those funds were rendered, the attorney shall promptly  
               provide the client with a statement of accounting  
               describing services rendered; and


                 any funds received before the effective date of the  
               section for which immigration reform act services were not  
               rendered prior to the effective date, shall be either  
               refunded to the client or shall be deposited in a client  
               trust account.  If the attorney elects to deposit funds in  
               a client trust account, he or she shall provide a specified  
               written notice to the client, in English and the client's  
               native language. 


          1)Provides that when a contract for legal services is required  
            to be in writing, as specified, an attorney providing  








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            immigration reform act services shall provide a written notice  
            informing the client where he or she may report complaints, as  
            specified.  


          2)Defines "immigration reform act" as any pending or future act  
            of Congress that is enacted after the effective date, as  
            specified, but before January 1, 2017, including but not  
            limited to the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and  
            Immigration Modernization Act" (Sen. No. 744, 2013), as  
            specified, and requires the State Bar to announce and post on  
            its Internet Web site when an immigration reform act has been  
            enacted. 


          3)Defines "immigration reform act services" as services offered  
            in connection with an immigration reform act that are  
            necessary in the preparation of an application and other  
            related initial processes in order for an undocumented  
            immigrant, as specified, to attain lawful status under the  
            immigration reform act. 


          4)Contains similar prohibitions with respect to immigration  
            consultants.


          This bill:


          1)Revises the definition of "immigration reform act" by:  (a)  
            clarifying that it applies to any pending or future act of  
            Congress that is enacted after October 5, 2013, as specified;  
            and (b) expanding the definition to include the President's  
            executive actions on immigration announced on November 20,  
            2014, or any future executive action or order that authorizes  
            an undocumented immigrant who entered into the United States  
            without inspection, who did not depart after the expiration of  
            a nonimmigrant visa, or who stayed beyond an approved period  
            pursuant to a visa, to attain lawful status under federal law  
            or to otherwise remain in the country.  The State Bar is  
            required to announce and post on its Internet Web site when an  








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            executive action or order has been issued.


          2)Clarifies that immigration reform act services do not include  
            services that have an independent value apart from the  
            preparation of an application pursuant to an immigration  
            reform act and other related initial processes, as specified.


          3)Provides that it is unlawful for an attorney to demand or  
            accept the advance payment of any funds from a person for  
            immigration reform act services in connection with any of the  
            following: 


                 an immigration reform act, before the enactment of that  
               act, as specified;


                 requests for expanded Deferred Action for Childhood  
               Arrivals (DACA) under an immigration reform act before the  
               date the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services  
               (USCIS) begins accepting those requests; 


                 requests for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans  
               and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) under an immigration  
               reform act, before the date the USCIS begins accepting  
               those requests; 


                 any relief offered under any executive action announced  
               or executive order issued, on or after the effective date  
               of this bill, that authorizes 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 lawful status under federal law, before the  
               executive action or order has been implemented and the  
               relief is available.


          1)Clarifies that advance payment of funds for immigration reform  








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            act services that was received after October 5, 2013, 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 funds or placed into a client trust  
            account, as specified.


          2)Makes similar clarifying conforming changes with respect to  
            immigration consultants.


          Background


          Under existing law, attorneys and immigration consultants are  
          prohibited from demanding or accepting advance payment for  
          immigration reform act services before the enactment of an  
          "immigration reform act."  That restriction was enacted by AB  
          1159 (Gonzalez, Chapter 574, Statutes of 2013) to proactively  
          address the fraud that was expected to occur as a result of the  
          passage of the then-pending proposal for reform, the Border  
          Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization  
          Act of 2013. To tailor the bill to the issue raised by the  
          pending reform, AB 1159 generally defined "immigration reform  
          act" as any pending or future act of Congress, including, but  
          not limited to, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and  
          Immigration Modernization Act (Sen. No. 744, 113th Cong., 1st  
          Sess. (2013).).  While Sen. No. 744 passed the Senate on June  
          27, 2013, the House of Representatives never acted on the bill.


          Subsequently, on November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a  
          series of executive actions relating to immigration, including  
          the following initiatives:


           Expanding the population eligible for the DACA program to  
            people of any current age who entered the U.S. before the age  
            of 16 and lived in the U.S continuously since January 1, 2010,  
            and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from  
            two years to three years.








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           Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent  
            residents to request deferred action and employment  
            authorization for three years, in a new DAPA program, provided  
            they have lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1,  
            2010, and pass required background checks.


           Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence  
            to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful  
            permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S.  
            citizens.


           Modernizing, improving, and clarifying immigrant and  
            nonimmigrant visa programs to grow our economy and create  
            jobs.


           Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for  
            lawful permanent residents and providing an option for  
            naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the  
            application fee.  (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,  
            Executive Actions on Immigration (Apr. 15, 2015)  
             [as of May 1,  
            2015].)


          As the result of the issuance of a temporary injunction by a  
          federal judge in Texas, the USCIS currently informs the public  
          that:  "Due to [the] order, USCIS will not begin accepting  
          requests for the expansion of DACA on February 18[, 2015,] as  
          originally planned and has suspended implementation of Deferred  
          Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.   
          The court's temporary injunction, issued February 16, does not  
          affect the existing DACA.  Individuals may continue to come  
          forward and request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA  
          under the original guidelines."  


          To update the provisions of AB 1159 and reflect recent events,  








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          this bill seeks to apply the protections enacted by that bill to  
          executive orders or actions, as specified, by expanding the  
          definition of what constitutes an "immigration reform act."   
          This bill makes other clarifying changes consistent with the  
          President's executive actions and provides that immigration  
          reform act services do not include services that have a value  
          apart from the preparation of an application pursuant to an  
          immigration reform act.


          Comments

          As stated by the author:

            AB 60 will create consumer protection measures for people  
            that are seeking legal assistance from immigration attorneys  
            and consultants relating to the President's executive  
            actions announced on November 20, 2014.  As of now, there is  
            no formal application process for either the extended DACA  
            or DAPA program.

            However, unscrupulous attorneys are currently taking  
            advantage of the uncertainty and future of the deferred  
            action programs by continuing to provide legal assistance at  
            the expense of vulnerable Californians.

            AB 60 will prohibit immigration attorneys and consultants  
            from performing immigration services directly related to  
            executive actions announced by the President.
          
          Prior Legislation

          AB 1159 (Gonzalez, Chapter 574, Statutes of 2013) prohibits  
          attorneys and immigration consultants from demanding or  
          accepting advance payment for immigration reform act services  
          before the enactment of an immigration reform act.
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes


          SUPPORT:   (Verified5/26/15)








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          Kamala Harris, Attorney General of the State of California
          AFSCME  
           Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA
          California Catholic Conference
          California Communities United Institute
          California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
          Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
          Community Coalition
          Consumer Attorneys of California
          Eric Garcetti, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
          Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney
          Mujeres Unidas y Activas
          San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission
          SEIU
          United Farm Workers 
          Vision y Compromiso




          OPPOSITION:   (Verified5/26/15)


          American Immigration Lawyers Association - Northern California  
            Chapter, Southern California Chapter, San Diego Chapter, and  
            Santa Clara Valley Chapter 


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:      The California Labor Federation, in  
          support, notes that "[t]he California Legislature, by passing .  
          . . AB 1159 (Gonzalez) last year, has worked to ensure that  
          Californians are protected from immigration services fraud in  
          the event that California passed an Immigration Reform Bill.   
          However, current law does not protect Californians from fraud as  
          it relates to Presidential executive action.  Further, the  
          United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has  
          yet to finalize a formal process for implementation of the  
          Executive Order.  Despite that, there are ongoing practices by  
          immigration attorneys, consultants, and con artists that prey on  
          families' hopes and uncertainties with the promise of providing  








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          relief under a federal process that does not even exist yet."  
          The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in support,  
          asserts that this bill will address the serious concerns that  
          have been raised by law enforcement and the community as it  
          pertains to potential immigration fraud, and, notes that  
          "[t]here are approximately 1.6 million people in California that  
          could potentially benefit from President Obama's executive  
          action.  As a result of the President's announcement, there has  
          been an increase of eligible immigrants seeking immigration  
          related services from attorneys and consultants.  These services  
          are being wrongly advertised as promises that they can get via  
          an expedited process despite the fact that the [USCIS] has not  
          even started to process applications."


          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:      The Northern California Chapter,  
          Southern California Chapter, San Diego Chapter, and Santa Clara  
          Valley Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association  
          (AILA), in opposition, argue that AB 60 "inappropriately  
          undermines the ability of well-trained attorneys to provide  
          critical assistance to thousands of Californians."  AILA raises  
          various concerns related to the ability to do preparatory work,  
          repayment terms for fees already accepted, and that this bill  
          will cause undue delay and misuses several immigration terms.


          AILA notes that this bill is premised on the notion that  
          preparatory work is unnecessary until an application process has  
          been officially launched, and, asserts that, similar to AB 1159,  
          a letter should be submitted to the Assembly Journal to "clearly  
          allow [] attorneys to protect our clients by doing background  
          checks and other work to assess eligibility for immigration  
          relief, in order to clearly permit us to effectively represent  
          the interests of our clients and their families."


          AILA further contends that the proposed starting dates to begin  
          substantive work unduly delays accrual of benefits and puts  
          clients at risk, and that attorneys should be permitted to  
          prepare for expanded provisional waivers prior to implementing  
          regulations.  









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          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  77-0, 4/13/15
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang,  
            Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle,  
            Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Roger Hernández, Holden, Irwin,  
            Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Perea, Quirk, Rendon,  
            Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond,  
            Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk, Williams, Wood, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Harper, Obernolte, Ridley-Thomas

          Prepared by:Benjamin Palmer / JUD. / (916) 651-4113
          5/27/15 9:51:16


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