ImmigrationProf Blog has a good summary of a recent set of laws in California that have been enacted to protect immigrants' rights in the state. They invoke California's Proposition 187 as an indicator of how much the state has changed since the middle 90's, and lay out the range of laws that have been implemented. The changes are explained with one simple factor: a growing Latino population in the state = greater voting power. They follow up with another particularly good law (AB 263) that is "designed to stop unscrupulous employers from retaliating against immigrant workers who stand up for their rights". In the past couple decades, California's right-leaning ideologies have spread eastward. Maybe these new approaches toward humane treatment of people will make a similar cross-country effect.