How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Student loan plan for 'Dreamers' at UC, Cal State advances

UCLA Dreamers

Roberto (Bear) Guerra

"Dreamers" from UCLA's IDEAS support network prepare to enter their graduation ceremony in 2012.

Potentially thousands of students brought to the US illegally as children could turn to a $9.2 million loan program for help with tuition at California's public universities.

Under a proposal that cleared a Senate education panel Wednesday, the campus-based loan program would be funded in part by California State University and the University of California. In the first year, the schools would provide $2.3 million. The state general fund would cover the remaining $6.9 million — an amount that would double each year until the program became self-sustaining. 

Since 2001, California has allowed so-called "Dreamers" to pay tuition at lower in-state rates, and starting last year, they could apply for state tuition aid for low-income students, or Cal Grants. But sponsor Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, pointed out that these young adults do not qualify for loans from the federal government or private lenders.

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Why some Asian-Americans skip elections: 'too busy'

California Voters Participate In The State's Pivotal Primary

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Stickers saying "I Voted" in English, Spanish and Chinese are offered at a polling place in San Francisco.

More than a third of Asian-Americans who didn't vote in 2010 said they were “too busy" or had "a conflicting work or school schedule,” according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

In contrast, about one in four Hispanics, whites and blacks cited a packed schedule for why they missed elections.

The survey data offers some explanation for why voter turnout among Asian Americans lags blacks and whites, even though they're the fastest-growing demographic in the United States, with high education and income levels that are usually predictors of participation at the polls. (Asian-American turnout in 2010 - 31 percent - is closer to that of Hispanic voters).

The Pew analysis, released Wednesday, found that voter turnout for college-educated Asian Americans was 40 percent, trailing their white cohorts who are at 64 percent, blacks at 57 percent and Hispanics at 50 percent. The trendline was similar when affluent Asian Americans are compared to high-income whites:

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California's Latino plurality: 'We're confident that it happened'

vote aqui

Photo by Andres Lombana via Flickr Creative Commons

California state demographers say their projection that Latinos would outnumber non-Latino whites in California sometime in March has most likely held true. But they won't know for some time just when the tipping point came. And as for political parity, that has yet to come.

In January, the California Department of Finance projected in the state budget that by March of this year, California's Latino population would surpass that of non-Latino whites, making Latinos the state's largest demographic group.

So did it happen? Most likely yes.

"We're confident that it has happened," said Bill Schooling, chief demographer with the finance department. But, he added, while state demographers believe their projection has held true, it's still going to be a while until we know just when the tipping point occurred.

Schooling said it's likely that it won't be until next August, when data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey becomes available, that demographers can get a clearer picture of the state's population. Or for a clearer picture still, until August 2015.

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In immigration news: Civil rights and immigration, fallout over stalled CA affirmative action proposal, Obama's immigrant aunt dies at 61, more

Students at UCLA

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Students sit around the Bruin Bear statue during lunchtime on the campus of UCLA on April 23, 2012. A recently-shelved state proposal to restore affirmative action in California universities rankled some Asian Americans, who feared their children could lose spots in college to less-represented ethnic groups. The controversy has resulted in political backlash against Asian American state politicians.

SCA 5: Asian-American lawmakers face fallout from affirmative action debate - Southern California Public Radio A now-shelved proposal to restore affirmative action in state universities is still affecting lawmakers who took a position on it: "Controversy over Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 has cost Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, endorsements from several legislators who had initially supported his bid to replace retiring Congressman Henry Waxman. And SCA 5 strife may have killed a bill sponsored by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi — a totally unrelated measure that aimed to expand the number of low-emission vehicles allowed on high-occupancy vehicle lanes."

Civil Rights and Immigration Reform: Do they Belong Together? - NBC News Immigration reform is among the discussion topics this week at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, which began "marking Johnson's civil rights legacy Tuesday with a three-day summit of panels and events. President Barack Obama is to speak Thursday. The agenda also includes former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter."

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SCA 5: Asian-American lawmakers face fallout from affirmative action debate

Lorie Shelley

State Sen. Ted Lieu, who is running for Congress, lost six endorsements from members of the legislative Black and Latino caucuses.

SCA 5 fallout

KPCC

State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) withdrew her endorsement of Lieu, who is running to replace retiring Congressman Henry Waxman.

SCA 5 Fallout

Equality California

Al Muratsuchi's bill intended to promote low-emission cars may have been a casualty of SCA 5 controversy.


Affirmative action legislation may be off the table in Sacramento this year, but it continues to divide legislators.

Controversy over Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 has cost Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, endorsements from several legislators who had initially supported his bid to replace retiring Congressman Henry Waxman. 

And SCA 5 strife may have killed a bill sponsored by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi — a totally unrelated measure that aimed to expand the number of low-emission vehicles allowed on high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

"I think it's a form of political payback," said Louis DeSipio, a political scientist at the University of California, Irvine.

RELATED: Affirmative action bill SCA 5 'dead for the year'

Lieu became a target of fellow legislators after he backed off from his support of SCA 5, which would have asked voters to restore affirmative action at California's public universities. Lieu had caught heat from Chinese-Americans groups worried that race-conscious admissions — banned by voters in 1996 —would winnow Asian-Americans’ chances of getting into top schools. 

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