California Governor Jerry Brown made lots of people happy on Sunday when he signed bill AB 2189, which grants California driver’s licenses to Deferred Action recipients. However, he also left a lot of people upset.
That same night, Gov. Brown rejected the passing of a bill that is being called the “anti-Arizona” bill. This bill was set up to protect some undocumented immigrants from immigration status checks by local authorities. The only ones who would be checked would be people who were charged or convicted of a serious crime or a violent felony.
This, supporters say, would have served as a counter to the way legislation stands in Arizona with SB 1070. Arizona officials are required to ask people for their papers if officials suspect that those people are undocumented. If a person is stopped for speeding, for example, and the officer has a reason to believe that the driver is undocumented, the official is required to ask for proof of legal status. The Supreme Court approved this specific provision just a few weeks ago. Other states have similar laws: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah.
This sort of legislation is seen as a way of opening the door to racial profiling. Gov. Brown’s decision puzzled Californian supporters of the “anti-Arizona” bill because they believed he would sign it. Brown released a statement saying that he supports comprehensive reform but that this bill was flawed because, as it is written, it exempts individuals who had committed crimes such as child abuse and the selling of weapons.
The debate is sure to continue in California, the state with the largest population of undocumented immigrants. Immigrant-rights groups are sure to continue pushing for change.