Friday, September 13, 2013

California Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Undocumented Immigrants to be Eligible for Driver's Licenses, Four Major Immigration-Related Bills Await Governor Brown's Signature


In the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session, the California Assembly sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for driver's licenses, a pressing issue of public safety and civil rights.  The 55-19 vote moved California toward adopting a measure that immigrant advocates have long sought.  Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), a proud graduate of UC Davis School of Law, sponsored the bill. The Sacramento Bee reported that, in a statement released shortly after the vote, Governor Jerry Brown "signaled" that he would likely sign the bill.

Besides the driver's license bill, Governor Brown has several immigrant-related bills on his desk for signature:  (1) the California TRUST Act limiting state and local cooperation with federal immigration authorities with respect to detaining and turning over minor criminal offenders; (2) a bill that would allow unauthorized immigrants to be eligible for admission to the California State Bar; and (3) a bill that would allow lawful permanent residents to serve on juries.  Click here for an analysis of the political dynamics resulting in the passage of this legislation.

In a gubernatorial debate with Meg Whitman at Fresno State before winning the election (with Latinos chossing Brown over Whitman by a wide margin), Brown stated that as Governor he would treat all Californians equally "as God's children."  We will see how true he is to his words in deciding whether to sign these four important bills, which together would move the state toward treating all Californians equally.


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