Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Affirmative Action Benefits Asian Americans

Prop 209: a Case Study

There is quantitative and qualitative data that proves affirmative action benefits Asian Americans in admissions.  After Prop 209 banned affirmative action in public higher education in 1998, the rate of AAPI admissions decreased significantly for all UC campuses except UC Riverside, and diversity levels have never been the same since. 

The immediate effects of Prop 209:

  • Black, Latinx, and Native American students experienced a precipitous drop in admissions across the UC system, with 30 percent drops in Black, Chicano, and Native American admission rates in a single year at UC Berkeley.  
  • Although Asian Americans were not affected as dramatically, their admissions rate also fell at five out of eight UC campuses, with drops of up to 32 percent at UCLA over a 9-year period.  
  • Filipino Americans (like African Americans), who were beneficiaries under affirmative action, were “zeroed out” at Boalt Law School.

Since California eliminated affirmative action in its public universities, Asian American students have been less likely to get into the UC system than under an affirmative action regime.

The UC system has never had the same level of diversity that it had before Prop 209, despite significant investment in race-neutral diversity programs.

Additional Resources:


Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday

For more information or to apply to DRAI, please call: 

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)  (213) 241-8872
Khmer  (213) 241-8877
Korean  (213) 241-8873
Tagalog  (213) 241-8874
Thai  (213) 241-8875
Vietnamese  (213) 241-8876
English/Other, Non-Spanish  (213) 241-8880
Spanish/English** (CARECEN)  (213) 315-2659
Spanish/English** (CHIRLA)  (213) 201-8700
 (213) 395-9547

*This list will continue to expand.
** Spanish assistance available through CARECEN & CHIRLA.
***We are experiencing heavier call volume than usual. We highly encourage you to call your native language phone line, the wait time may be shorter. 

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.