How does Obama's immigration reform play in California?

Nov 21, 2014

After months of delayPresident Obama announced last night that he will undertake sweeping immigration reform through executive action.  Although the reforms are not as broad as immigration activists had hoped, the action will affect an estimated 5 million people.  


Responses have been mixed, but immigrants in California’s Central Valley are reacting to the news with optimism. From Peter Hecht in the Sacramento Bee:


“Six years ago, Rosa Acevedo left her daughter Moraina, 3, at home with her parents in Mexico so she could chase her American dream of earning $8.25 to $9.25 an hour picking grapes, strawberries and tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley.


“Though she lacks legal immigration status, Acevedo, 27, has supported her extended family in Mexico with money earned as a United Farm Workers laborer in fields near Stockton. Now, as a result of Thursday’s executive action by President Barack Obama, she has a reprieve from deportation and temporary permission to stay and work in California.”


Lisa Aliferis reports that protected immigrants may now be eligible for Medi-Cal.  From KQED:


“While most states do not extend Medicaid benefits to DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] immigrants, California does.


“‘Deferred action’ means those individuals who are approved are considered lawfully present,” said Ronald Coleman, government affairs manager for the California Immigrant Policy Center. ‘California has historically covered broad populations of immigrants who reside in the state.’”


Republicans seeking to overturn the order don’t have much hope according to David Savage at the Los Angeles Times.


“Although the program is likely to push the limits of presidential power, immigration law experts predict opponents will have a hard time stopping him. Courts have historically given the executive branch broad leeway to decide how to enforce deportation laws for the estimated 11 million immigrants living and working in the country without legal status.”


On the heels of Wednesday’s contentious meeting, the University of California Board of Regents voted 14-7 yesterday to approve a plan to raise tuition roughly 5% per year for the next five years.  Lisa Leff covered the story for the Associated Press  and Capitol Weekly’s Samantha Gallegos has the response from Sacramento.


“’To UC students and their families, please know that the fight over this nearly 28% fee increase is not over,’ Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said in a prepared statement released minutes after Thursday’s vote. Atkins is an ex-officio member of the Regents.


Gov. Jerry Brown, who appeared before the Regents earlier to argue against the tuition increase, did not say what he would do in response to the board’s decision. His office said only that the ‘next steps will be outlined in the budget the Governor introduces in January.’”


And, it’s Friday, meaning that we look back to see who had the worst week in California politics – who is Singin’ Those Golden State Blues.  Our pick: Bakersfield congressman and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.


After two hotly-contested California congressional races were decided this week, California’s Democratic delegation to the House will actually increase by one seat.


Ami Bera and Jim Costa narrowly maintained their seats against GOP challengers Doug Ose and Johnny Tacherra, and Dem Pete Aguilar picked up an open seat vacated by Republican Gary Miller) – amazing, in a GOP ‘wave’ election.


That’s bad news for McCarthy, who, we’re told, guided Republican efforts to take the seats.


And, those races weren’t cheap. So, depending on how you spin it, McCarthy either A) wasted good money trying to pick up seats that were predictably blue; or B) didn’t spend enough to pick up seats that could have been had with a bit more support. 


Neither option is good, and we’re guessing that the results are giving Mr. McCarthy plenty of heartburn.