Governor Signs SB 905 Into Law

Enhancing Protections for Immigrant Communities

October 10, 2020

Enhancing Protections for Immigrant Communities

California State Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) released the following statement:

Governor Newsom has signed into law Senator Archuleta’s Senate Bill 905, the Background Check Security Act. SB 905 has been highlighted amongst other pieces of legislation that continue California’s landmark leadership in the protection and inclusion of immigrant communities. Senator Archuleta is proud to contribute to this leadership and thanks the Governor for recognizing the importance of making all communities to feel safe.

California law allows organizations to request all of an applicant’s records of convictions from the California Department of Justice if the applicant would have supervisory or disciplinary power over a minor or another in their care. This measure is a prudent step in ensuring the safety of minors or other vulnerable individuals. However, these requests can be exploited to divulge the location of undocumented individuals that are applying to volunteer in their communities.

Under current law, the Department of Justice can be forced to divulge the background check records without a proper warrant, constituting an unlawful seizure. The fear of this personal information being taken has created a chilling effect on the volunteer efforts of organizations throughout the state. Individuals are afraid of volunteering and contributing in their communities for fear of their privacy being breached by federal entities.

Immigrant communities have suffered the most during this period of uncertainty, with numbers of volunteers in schools dropping dramatically. “This fear of unintended consequences cannot continue. Procedure should never stop individuals from being involved in their communities”, says Senator Archuleta.

Senate Bill 905 will allow individuals to submit these background checks without a residence address, so to best project their families. By not requiring an address on these background checks, we can provide assurance to individuals that they can volunteer in their communities without risking compromising the safety of themselves or their loved ones.