Legislation Would Allow Dreamers and Other Immigrants to Run for Democratic Party Leadership Roles


SB 288 allows Dreamers and other immigrants to run for Democratic Party County Central Committee positions

(From Press Release) – Yesterday, Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) Senate Bill 288 was endorsed by the California Democratic Party. SB 288 makes it legal for immigrants to run for California Democratic Party County Central Committee seats. Specifically, the legislation allows DACA recipients, immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), immigrants who have received asylum, and green card holders to run for these positions. (The legislation also applies to the Peace and Freedom Party).

It is currently impossible for Dreamers and other immigrants to run for Democratic Party positions, because under the California Elections Code, only registered voters can run. SB 288 changes the Elections Code so that these immigrants can participate in leadership roles in the Democratic Party.

“Immigrants are already leaders in our communities and deserve a seat at the table in the Democratic Party,” said Senator Wiener. “Immigrants pay taxes and contribute to our economy, culture, and civic life. I am proud that our legislation received this vital endorsement.”

An estimated 200,000 Dreamers live in California alongside a broader immigrant population of over 2.5 million. Although current law excludes Dreamers and other immigrants from taking on leadership roles in the Democratic and other political parties, a variety of related policies have aimed to better include them in other settings. In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown nominated Lizbeth Mateo to serve as an education advisor. Upon confirmation she became the first-ever Dreamer to receive a statewide appointment. In early 2019 the Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, David Campos, appointed a Dreamer, Sarah Souza, to serve on San Francisco’s Central Committee. Recent legislative actions have also expanded Medi-Cal and other public benefits to many immigrants. Activists and policymakers affiliated with the CDP have been on the forefront of these changes, and there is a broad appetite within the party to better incorporate the perspectives of Dreamers and other immigrants into the political process.

SB 288 is co-authored by Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), and Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), and Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

Full text of the bill can be found here.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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6 thoughts on “Legislation Would Allow Dreamers and Other Immigrants to Run for Democratic Party Leadership Roles”

  1. Alan Miller

    Not clear if this also allows — I don’t even know the correct term as ‘immigrants’ has many categories and ‘Dreamers’ is so non-descriptive — these people to also serve similarly the Republican party or other parties?  Clearly from  ASUCD governance and the Rexroad alleged clients not all ‘people of color’ are Dems nor liberal.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      There is a link at the bottom of the article to the text. In the text it clearly indicates it would only impact Peace and Freedom and the Democratic Party.

      “This bill permit would certain persons who are not United States citizens, including lawful permanent residents and persons who are or were in deferred action status under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, to be candidates for, and members of, a county central committee of the Democratic Party of California or the Peace and Freedom Party of California”

      1. Bill Marshall

        I have no problem with the legislation, per se…

        Philosophically I’m quite leery of ‘custom’ legislation… but, in this case, Dems would have little/no opposition from Reps or others… ensuring its passage… and, I’m leery of that political ‘game’, as well…

        It is concerning that the change requires State legislative action… the State should stay out of party ‘operations’ politics… it is disturbing that the State, and Counties subsidize “parties” to be on a ballot, and the timing of primaries… it’s a pretty big subsidy.  Particularly where Dems and some other parties let all folk vote in their primaries, and Reps, other parties do not.

        In a truly ‘open primary’ there would only be one ballot… saving a lot of money, and a whole bunch of trees… also would make life easier for poll-workers and a lot of other elections staff…

        I only went to NPP when I knew I could at least vote for reps on one of the side of the ledger… it bugs me that I can’t express an opinion for a candidate on the Rep side, but my tax dollars are paying for their “special” ballots… I’d support a truly open primary… suspect the CA Rep contingent would have supported Kasich (sp?), had it been an open primary.

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