The laws' author is Democratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo:
Cedillo: "We have to preserve our position in the global economy. And we won't be able to do it unless we educate every single person that we can."
But only the first half of the "DREAM Act" takes effect now - the part that makes undocumented immigrants eligible for privately-funded scholarships. The second half, which deals with public financial aid like Cal Grants, doesn't take effect until 2013.
Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly hopes it never takes effect. He's gathering signatures for a referendum and says he's found broad support:
Donnelly: "I've got people who are hardcore liberal Democrats. I've got people who are independents and libertarians. I've got people who are hardcore conservative."
Donnelly must turn in more than 500,000 valid voter signatures by this Friday. His campaign says it'll come down to the wire.