Photo by photologue_np/Flickr (Creative Commons)
The California State Capitol building, July 2011
California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign or veto a controversial immigration bill, known as the TRUST Act, by the end of September. And it might not be the only state immigration bill that lands on Brown's desk in the near future.
Being considered are several other California immigration bills, among them a measure that would direct the state to grant driver's licenses to young undocumented immigrants who qualify for temporary legal status through the new federal policy known as deferred action. While California officials were already leaning toward granting licenses, state officials in Arizona and elsewhere have stated they don't plan to grant them to deferred action beneficiaries.
Here is a rundown of the California immigration bills:
AB 2189: Driver's licenses for deferred action recipients
Sponsored by Democratic Assembly member Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles, the bill would make young undocumented immigrants able to receive California driver's licenses if they qualify for deferred action, which would grant them temporary legal status for two years, and related work permits. Cedillo has long been a proponent of issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants in general; the bill is amended from a version introduced earlier this year. Read the bill here.
AB 916: Work permits for farm and service workers
The latest version of this measure, sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez of Coachella, doesn't go so far as to propose granting work permits. But it does call on the state Employee Development Department and Department of Food and Agriculture to convene a "working group" with federal officials in order to figure out how to establish a program that would permit undocumented agricultural or service workers to live and work legally in the state. Read the bill here.
SB 901: Protection for tax-paying undocumented immigrants
The bill perhaps least likely to make it to Brown's desk is this one, which would establish a five-year program that would collect information on undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and meet other requirements, then request that federal officials refrain from detaining or deporting immigrants who participate in the program. It's an amended bill now sponsored by Democratic Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes of Sylmar. More on the bill here.
Then there is AB 1081, the TRUST Act (for “Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools"), which cleared a final Assembly vote last week. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign it.
That measure proposes limiting who state and local police can hold for immigration officials, restricting it to immigrants convicted of felonies or other serious crimes. The idea is to shrink the net cast by the federal Secure Communities program, which allows fingerprints of people booked locally to be shared with immigration officials. Local and state agencies that did choose to hold people for immigration agents would need to come up with plans insure against racial profiling and victims and witnesses being unwilling to come forward. Read the bill here.