INTRODUCED BY   Senator Vidak
   (Coauthor: Senator Cannella)
   (Coauthor: Assembly Member Lackey)

                        DECEMBER 9, 2014

   Relative to immigration.


   SJR 2, as introduced, Vidak. Immigration.
   This measure would urge Congress and the President of the United
States to work together to create a comprehensive and workable
approach to reform the nation's immigration system according to
specified principles.
   Fiscal committee: no.

   WHEREAS, This country was built by immigrants seeking a better
life; and
   WHEREAS, Estimates suggest that there are 11 million undocumented
immigrants living in the shadows in the United States, including
millions of children brought to this country undocumented who have
grown up here and call the United States home, and who are suffering
from our dysfunctional immigration policy; and
   WHEREAS, A logical and streamlined path to citizenship for
individuals after they gain legal status would stimulate the economy
by allowing these individuals to get college degrees and driver's
licenses, buy homes, start new companies, and create legal,
tax-paying jobs, affording them a chance at the American Dream; and
   WHEREAS, The United States Congress last enacted major immigration
legislation more than 25 years ago; and
   WHEREAS, Since that time, fragmented attempts at immigration
reform have failed to create the rational and effective systems
needed to maintain international competitiveness. Whether in
industries like agriculture, which requires large numbers of workers
able to perform physically demanding tasks, or in industries like
technology or health care, where the demand for employees with
advanced degrees is projected to exceed supply within the next five
years, immigration policy must be designed to respond to emerging
labor needs in all sectors of the United States economy; and
   WHEREAS, Our national interests and security are not served by our
outdated, inefficient, and slow-moving immigration system. Patchwork
attempts to mend its deficiencies undermine our potential for
prosperity and leave us vulnerable and unable to meet the needs of
the modern world; and
   WHEREAS, Labor mobility is crucial to our economic prosperity and
our country's recovery from the economic crisis. Yet our rigid,
outdated immigration policies are making it difficult for our
companies and our nation to compete. Information released in a study
by the University of California, Los Angeles, states that legalizing
the status of undocumented immigrants working and living in the
United States would create around $1.5 trillion in additional gross
domestic product growth over the next 10 years and increase wages for
all workers. A study done by the University of California, Davis,
indicates that the last large wave of immigrants, from 1990 to 2007,
raised the income of a native-born American worker by an average of
$5,000; and
   WHEREAS, California has the largest share of immigrants in the
country. These immigrants are a vital and productive part of our
state's economy and are active in a variety of industries, including
technology, biotech, hospitality, agriculture, construction,
services, transportation, and textiles. They also represent a large
share of our new small business owners and create economic prosperity
and needed jobs for everyone; and
   WHEREAS, Keeping these families, business owners, and hard workers
in the shadows of society serves no one; and
   WHEREAS, Our state, for economic, social, health, security, and
prosperity reasons, must support policies that allow individuals to
become legal and enfranchised participants in our society and
economy; and
   WHEREAS, Comprehensive immigration reform should include a
reasonable and timely path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
who are already living and working in the United States. It should
also include comprehensive background checks, require demonstrated
proficiency in English and payment of all current and back taxes, and
have the flexibility to respond to emerging business trends; and
   WHEREAS, The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research
group in Washington, D.C., estimates that in 2012, the federal
government spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement, and since
2004, the number of United States Border Patrol agents has doubled;
   WHEREAS, Increased enforcement has given the federal government
the ability to prioritize the deportation of lawbreakers and
dangerous individuals and to ensure our border's security.
Nevertheless, this enforcement should not be done in an inhumane way;
   WHEREAS, Immigration enforcement should continue to focus on
criminals, not on hardworking immigrant families, and not at the
expense of efficient trade with two of our top three economic
partners; and
   WHEREAS, The United States loses large numbers of necessary,
highly skilled workers due to the lengthy and complicated processes
currently in place to get or keep a legal residency option; and
   WHEREAS, Reform should include an expedited process for those
residing abroad and applying for legal visas. Additionally, reform
should offer permanent residency opportunities to international
students in American universities who are highly trained and in high
demand, and in so doing avoid an intellectual vacuum after their
graduation; and
   WHEREAS, Reform should recognize the societal and cultural
benefits of keeping the family unit intact. The system should take
into account special circumstances surrounding candidates for
probationary legal status, such as those of minors who were brought
to the country as children or workers whose labor is essential to
maintain our country's competitiveness; now, therefore, be it
   Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of
California, jointly, That the Legislature urges the President and the
Congress of the United States to work together and create a
comprehensive and workable approach to solving our nation's
historically broken immigration system, using the principles
described in this resolution; and be it further
   Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this
resolution to the President and the Vice President of the United
States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the
Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative
from California in the Congress of the United States.