California News

Gov. Brown signs 9 immigration-related bills

Monday, October 07, 2013

It's a shot across the bow for immigration reform. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed nine immigration-related bills in three days.

One of those, the Trust Act, prohibits local law enforcement agencies from holding people for deportation if they are arrested for a minor crime and would otherwise be eligible to be released.

"Many immigrants are entering the pipeline of detention and deportation if they've been pulled over for a traffic offense, if they are selling tamales on a sidewalk in front of a store. AB4, the Trust Act, basically rights this huge injustice," said Reshma Samasunder with the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Hesperia) says this law sends the wrong message.

"You can drive drunk two times before you will be deported under the Trust Act," said Donnelly. "It basically turns California into a sanctuary state, and the only thing it does that has anything to do with trust is it's going to break the trust between local law enforcement and federal."

On Thursday, the governor approved legislation that allows people who are here illegally to get driver's licenses.

Another bill signed over the weekend allows lawyers to be admitted to the California Bar and practice law even if they are in the U.S. illegally. The case was based on Sergio Garcia, who graduated from Cal Northern School of Law in 2009 but was denied his license.

"To waste that talent, to simply squander it because the federal government won't act doesn't make any sense," said Samasunder.

"It's a very compelling case. The problem is that you're setting a precedent and saying that somebody, anybody who comes here illegally, basically can become a lawyer and become a member of the bar even though their legal status is still in question," said Donnelly.

Opponents say the fight isn't over yet. Some of these new laws could still be challenged in court.

Meantime, Brown has vetoed a bill that would have made California the first state in the nation to allow non-citizens who are in the country legally to serve on jury duty.

"Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship," Brown said in an announcement Monday accompanying his veto of AB1401. "This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury. I don't think that's right."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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immigration, california, jerry brown, california news, carlos granda
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