As President Trump fights in court to maintain his executive order that temporarily bans refugees, some California lawmakers are pushing back.
They’re introducing a package of bills, including one that would allow refugees to immediately pay in-state tuition at community colleges instead of waiting a year for the discount.
Hamidulla Hamidi, who was a translator for American troops in Afghanistan and came to the U.S. in 2014 as a refugee with a Special Immigrant Visa, points out that changing one's country and home presents a lot of problems for refugees. He says he tried for months to get a job and then found he had to wait a year in order to pay in-state tuition for college.
Another bill would allow Special Immigrant Visa holders like Hamidi to apply their overseas work experience toward a professional license in California, for occupations like auto mechanic or speech therapist.
The measures were in the works before Trump’s executive order. But Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher says they now send a message that California remains committed to refugees, in spite of the president’s order.
"We're going to say 'No, we're not taking part in this fearmongering and this hatred, and in fact we're going to do just the opposite,'" she says.
The package also includes a budget provision to aid school districts with high numbers of refugees.