The immigration policy of the United States, under which California is currently obligated to operate, is causing irreparable harm to the families of our undocumented neighbors as they are ripped from their homes, detained indefinitely without legal recourse, and too often sent back to countries they barely know. This broken system has also caused us economic harm, as farmers and other businesses struggle to find workers to replace the productive and hardworking employees that are often abruptly and indiscriminately deported by the federal government. There is no adequate path to U.S. citizenship for the many undocumented people who have lived in California as law-abiding and productive community members for many years, nor does the federal government provide enough visas for temporary guest workers to keep up with the demands of California’s economy.
This kind of immigration enforcement does not serve the interests of California. For at least two hundred years California has been an important destination for international immigration. Any California government will honor the fact that people from around the world come here to begin new lives as Californians. The California National Party (CNP) recognizes that California’s history includes episodes of xenophobia and intolerance, and we are committed to not repeating the mistakes of the past.
A Fair and Humane Immigration Policy
We support the design and implementation of immigration policies that are consistent with the fair and humane treatment of immigrants. No matter how immigrants came to be in California, they are human beings who deserve to be treated as such. The principles and goals that underlie such a policy include:
- The inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all people must be at the foundation of immigration law and policy.
- Upholding family unity should be a priority of all immigration policies.
- Create a process for undocumented immigrants who have lived in California for a significant number of years to earn their legal status and eventual citizenship.
- Protect workers and provide efficient channels of entry for new migrant workers.
- Guarantee due process protections for all immigrants.
- Align immigration enforcement with humanitarian values.
- Emphasize the protection of refugees and other vulnerable migrants.
- Freedom of movement must be maximized for all individuals, within practical limits.
- Immigration policies should be free from discrimination and uphold equality.
- Every immigration policy, strategy, and institution must be accountable to the affected individuals and local communities. Local communities should be directly involved with immigration and border policy-making, as well as with enforcement reviews.
California’s unique global position allows it to welcome and cultivate diverse peoples and cultures from all over the planet. For this reason, the CNP advocates for the implementation of the following policy goals:
- California will seek to issue visas allowing foreign nationals to enter, work, study, and reside in California, either with the cooperation of the United States federal government or upon our independence.
- California’s economy needs to retain highly-educated individuals and other skilled professionals who originate from other nations.
- Undocumented child immigrants are children, thus they do not have the same decision-making capacities as adults. As such, they must be treated as children.
- California shall guarantee the right to healthcare, legal representation, and public education for all children in California regardless of immigration status.
- The CNP opposes the construction of any wall along the southern border of California. If such a wall is built, we will work for its removal.
- California shall seek to modify free trade agreements to ease the movement of people and goods across borders, especially with regard to Mexico, Canada, and the Pacific Rim nations.
Actions California Can Take Now
Even though a California that lives under the federal government cannot adopt the immigration policies the CNP believes are fair and just, there are several actions we can undertake now. These include ensuring that all residents, including undocumented immigrants, have access to state services, beginning a system of residency permits, developing responsible guest worker programs, and continuing a policy of non-compliance with federal immigration authorities when their actions threaten law-abiding members of our communities.
- California should develop a residency program for anyone who has lived here for five years continuously and who can affirm that they intend to remain in California indefinitely. This residency would allow such individuals to legally work and live in California indefinitely as well as vote in local and California elections.
- Residency would only be open to individuals who have not been convicted of a serious crime in California during that period, or who have been convicted of such a crime but have applied for and been granted amnesty.
- All California government agencies will be instructed to respect these residency permits, to never turn over any holder of such a permit to federal immigration agents, and to not detain or otherwise interfere with any Californian who holds a duly issued residency permit.
- No language requirement shall be imposed to obtain a California residency permit nor later for Californian citizenship. Upon independence, anyone holding a California residency permit will be issued full citizenship in the California Republic.
- California must create a rational guest-worker program operated by the counties in order to best meet their needs. These programs will be coordinated by a state-wide agency to which each county shall submit a proposal that outlines its guest worker labor needs. Counties can also choose to not seek any guest workers if they have no such needs.