California Latino Leaders Hope Immigration Reform Bills Receive Political Support

Latino leaders in California are hoping that their support of Democrat Jerry Brown during the state’s gubernatorial election last year will help a series of immigration reform bills pass in the state legislature, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Sixty-four percent of Latino voters supported Brown while 30 percent cast their vote for Republican candidate Meg Whitman, reported the newspaper. Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Clarement McKenna College told the paper that Democrats could face a voter backlash if they don’t support at least some of the legislation, which aims to expand the rights of undocumented farm workers and illegal immigrants.

On May 12, the source said the state Assembly passed a measure that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive a stipend, grant or scholarship for serving in the student government in state university or community colleges. Other bills in the legislature included AB 889, which would give housekeepers and other domestic workers the right to job benefits, and AB 1081, which would allow counties to withdraw from a federal program that runs the fingerprints of arrested people through a database to see if they are illegal immigrants.

On the other end of the spectrum, states such as Georgia and Utah have recently proposed tightened immigration bills that would allow authorities to check the citizenship status of anyone they arrest. However, soon after Utah’s law passed it was overturned by a federal judge, who ruled it was unconstitutional.