Government & Politics
7:36 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

New Laws Signal Change in Attitude in California Toward Immigration

California Governor Jerry Brown, awaiting a speaking engagement at a rally at Fresno City College
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The passage of some high profile immigration legislation in California appears to signal a shift in the state’s attitude on the issue, particularly with its Governor, Jerry Brown. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

In 2010, then-candidate Brown opposed driver licenses for undocumented immigrants. This month he signed a bill allowing licenses for undocumented immigrants. Brown says the law now reflects the outlook of the majority of Californians.

“The people of California, a strong majority, are sympathetic to the plight of those who’ve come to California to live and work," says Brown.

Dan Schnur with the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at USC agrees. He says Proposition 87, which barred undocumented immigrants from public services, passed by a two-to-one margin in 1994. Now, he says, it wouldn’t stand a chance.

“As is the case on many other cultural and social issues, younger voters really do drive a change in public opinion in a very significant way,” says Schnur.

Governor Brown recently signed a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and just this past weekend, he signed the Trust Act, which would prevent local police from holding people arrested for minor offenses for federal immigration authorities.