Morrison & Foerster Alumni News - Winter 2020

MoForever Winter 2020 | 24 PRO BONO UPDAT E legislators the significant racial disparities in who lost their licenses, it was truly eye-opening and led to bipartisan efforts to change this practice,” she says. This is just one example of her efforts to shore up people’s economic security and make California's policies sensible, rather than punitive. “Punishment shouldn’t make the difference in whether someone can pay rent. When making or breaking it economically in California is such a narrow and treacherous path, we need to do everything we can to ensure economic justice under the law.” Impactful Immigration Advocacy Immigrants’ rights are another key area for Maya’s advocacy. She worked for the passage of the California Values Act, which disentangled state and local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement. “It was a huge lift and a hard-fought win. It benefits public safety when immigrants know that if they witness a crime, they can talk to police without subjecting themselves to deportation. To make a dent in the fear that people feel right now in our country was tremendous.” Maya also worked on legislation to give people a post-custodial, post-conviction remedy, both if they have new evidence of their innocence and if they hadn’t been advised of the immigration consequences of their guilty plea. Once that changed, she saw countless stories of attorneys using this new law to mitigate their clients’ conviction history in immigration proceedings. “It became a legal tool used way beyond what we thought possible when we originated it,” Maya says. “It’s very meaningful when you hear how thankful other attorneys are for the work you did in the legislature to give them legal remedies for clients.” Leading the Way on Immigration Maya says California has led the way on immigrant integration by giving immigrants access to driver’s licenses, higher education, and business licenses. California has also expanded state funding to provide legal services to immigrants that include deportation representation. “Legal representation makes an overwhelming difference in whether someone is deported,” Maya explains. “When families are torn apart, it is so disruptive and harmful to the community. Prioritizing legal representation for immigrants so Californians can stay in California ADVOCATING FOR PUBLIC RIGHTS MAYA INGRAM, LEGISLATIVE ATTORNEY ACLU OF CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR ADVOCACY & POLICY