Gov. Jerry Brown has signed AB 1899, introduced by Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City).
The bill, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, closes a gap in eligibility for higher education benefits for lawful U.S. residents who are victims of human trafficking or other serious crimes.’
“College students who have survived trafficking can help prevent future abuse when they open up to law enforcement -- cooperation which we should facilitate,” Mitchell said in an official statement.
The new law affects students who come forward and cooperate with law enforcement to try to apprehend their abusers, having received the “U” or “T” visas commonly assigned to victims of human trafficking.
Although on a legal path to permanent U.S. residency, a loophole exists in law, which prevents such visa-holders from participating in certain higher education benefits.
“A student should never have to choose between pursuing an education and pursuing justice,” Mitchell stated.
AB 1899 was co-sponsored by the National Immigration Law Center, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the California Immigrant Policy Center.