Hispanic leaders and activists hailed the importance for the immigrant community of the half-dozen measures benefiting them that California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law.

Several of the measures had been rejected a year ago, but now were passed thanks to the efforts and cooperation of immigrant organizations with lawmakers to overcome the governor's objections.

"The tide is turning. California's historic legislation marks a shift of the pendulum away from the criminalization of immigrants," Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborerers Organizing Network, said in a statement.

Despite the extensive coverage given to the California TRUST Act, which limits the detentions that state and local law enforcement agencies can impose on undocumented immigrants, other laws signed by Brown also have a great deal of significance for the immigrant community.

SB 666 allows the suspension or cancellation of the operating license of a business where the employer threatens or takes reprisals against workers for being undocumented.

Noting that the signing of laws favoring immigrant workers "is not the end but the beginning," the campaign director and cofounder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Andrea Mercado, told Efe in an interview that "now we have to educate thousands and thousands of workers and employers to observe and respect these rights."

Another new law, AB 1024, lets an undocumented attorney who has passed the state bar exam practice law in California.

Under AB 524, the threat of reporting the immigration status of a person or his family can instill enough fear in them for it to be considered extortion. EFE