Brown Acts on Driver’s License, Deportation Bills

Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2012

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that will allow hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and vetoed another that would have restricted sheriffs from helping federal authorities detain undocumented Californians for potential deportation.

His actions, announced Sunday as the deadline neared to finish work on nearly 1,000 bills sent to him by the Legislature this year, followed an intense week of protests, prayer vigils and lobbying by immigrant advocacy groups.

The governor also revived a tax break for Hollywood, allowed juvenile killers serving life in prison a chance for release and outlawed treatment intended to turn gay children straight. {snip}


The driver’s license measure will make illegal immigrants eligible to drive legally in California if they qualify for a new federal work permit program. That Obama administration protocol allows illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16, and who are now 30 or younger and meet certain other criteria, to obtain work permits.


The other closely watched immigration bill was known as the Trust Act. It would have prohibited local law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants, unless they are charged with a serious or violent felony.

Some in law enforcement campaigned hard against the measure, AB 1081 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said it conflicted with federal law and vowed to defy it.

The act is aimed at Secure Communities, a federal program that creates a pipeline from local jails to deportation. {snip}

Brown wrote in his veto message that he supported the intent of the Trust Act but it was “fatally flawed,” as it would have protected illegal immigrants involved in such crimes as child abuse, drug trafficking and selling weapons. “I believe it’s unwise to interfere with a sheriff’s discretion to comply with a detainer issued for people with these kinds of troubling criminal records,” he said.


Proponents of the act noted that fewer than a third of the roughly 80,000 people deported from California since the state joined the program in 2009 were convicted of serious felonies. Most of the rest committed misdemeanors, while others were guilty only of previous immigration violations.


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