California May Consider Amnesty Program

Democratic lawmaker hopes to get measure on the ballot

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2011 12:20 PM CST

(Newser) – The debate over offering amnesty to illegal immigrants might soon be a ballot issue in California. Democratic lawmaker Felipe Fuentes formally introduced a measure yesterday that would allow about 1 million undocumented immigrants in California to live and work there without worrying about getting deported, reports McClatchy Newspapers. Fuentes filed the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act with state attorney general's office, the first step toward collecting the 500,000 signatures it would need to get on the ballot.

"I hope this shows Washington, DC, that if they fail to act, California will take the lead on this critical issue," said Fuentes. A Republican opponent predicted it would fail: "It essentially asks the federal government not to enforce the law." Even if voters eventually approved the measure, it's not clear whether federal authorities would agree to give the workers a free pass just because the state asked. A similar conundrum is taking place in the state over medical marijuana.

An immigrant woman marches to demand legalization for all immigrants in Los Angeles on May 1, 2011.
An immigrant woman marches to demand legalization for all immigrants in Los Angeles on May 1, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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