California is at the forefront of the nation’s deepening diversity and has the highest share of immigrants with and without legal immigration status in the United States. It is also among the most immigrant friendly states in the nation, and has enacted a number of integrationist measures and legal protections for its undocumented population, ranging from expanded access to public higher education to the ability to apply for driver’s licenses.
Despite these trends, many cities in California are still working to incorporate the state’s new arrivals into their communities, and are experiencing a re-ordering of existing racial dynamics””creating an increasingly complex but also rich new mosaic.
National Journal, in San Jose, California — a hub of technological innovation in the United States — hosted a town hall which convened the nation’s key opinion leaders for a robust discussion about immigration in the Golden State. Topics included: What factors have driven the state’s deepening diversity? How are California’s cities adapting to the country’s new players and integrating them into their communities? In the absence of federal immigration legislation, how can state and local leaders regularize life for the undocumented””and should they? And how hard or easy is it to live and work in a tolerant community with or without legal immigration status?