Progress for Immigrants in the California Budget

Chinese for Affirmative Action has been active in statewide legislative advocacy in Sacramento for over a decade. These efforts have helped bring the needs of Asian Americans, especially those who are the most vulnerable, to the attention of lawmakers.

Last year, we began focusing our state work on budget issues by creating the California Asian Pacific Islander Budget Partnership. The partnership includes allies from the Central Valley, Orange County, Santa Clara, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

We are pleased to share that this new formation has already helped with two important victories in the 2015-2016 state budget.

First, we were a key part of a coalition working on the passage of the One California proposal, which will provide $15 million of new funding for community outreach, education, and legal services for California’s immigrant population. CAA and our partnership testified in hearings, met with elected officials, and helped mobilize constituents to highlight the unique immigration needs of API communities. With the new funds, tens of thousands of community members will now benefit from legitimate services and outreach for citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications, and other immigration remedies.

Second, we joined the Health for All campaign to allow all Californians regardless of immigration status to access affordable healthcare. Our efforts in the campaign included critical documentation of health access barriers faced by undocumented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. As a result of the campaign’s efforts, $40 million was allocated to provide Medi-Cal coverage to 170,000 immigrant children who are currently excluded by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Both these investments in immigrant communities will make an immediate, practical, and positive difference in the well-being and safety of our communities. Through the California API Budget Partnership, we at Chinese for Affirmative Action were proud to be part of these diverse and effective coalitions.