Daniel Costa is Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute.His current areas of research include a wide range of labor migration issues, including the management of temporary foreign worker programs, both high- and less-skilled migration, and immigrant workers’ rights. 

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Proposed California Laws Will Protect Immigrant Workers Even if Federal Reform Fails

 left only a narrow opening for states to pass and enforce immigration-related legislation. Nevertheless, the enactment of immigration-related state laws and resolutions in 2013 increased by 83 percent compared with the first half of 2012. California has been a leader, passing numerous laws that would benefit immigrant workers and protect labor standards for U.S. workers. Despite extensive media coverage of the TRUST Act and two other bills—one that would grant “domestic workers” overtime pay (which became law last week) and another permitting unauthorized immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses—four others would protect the labor and employment rights of California’s unauthorized immigrant workers and temporary foreign workers (“guestworkers”).