How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Why did Brown veto the TRUST Act?

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Supporters of the TRUST Act rally outside Central Men's Jail in downtown Los Angeles.

After a California bill that would have limited how state and local police cooperate with federal immigration officials was vetoed last night by Gov. Jerry Brown, the focus has now shifted to why.

Yesterday was the deadline for Brown to sign or veto a host of bills, among them two key immigration measures. One was known as AB 2189, which directs the state Department of Motor Vehicles to allow young undocumented immigrants who receive temporary legal status under a new federal program to obtain California driver's licenses.

The other was known as the TRUST Act, a bill sponsored by Bay Area Democratic Assembly member Tom Ammiano that proposed restricting who state and local cops can hold for immigration officials, limiting it to just those with felony convictions or other specified serious offenses. The measure was intended to work around the federal Secure Communities program, which allows for fingerprints of people booked at local law enforcement facilities to be shared with Homeland Security.


2 key immigration bills are pending on Brown's desk - will he sign?

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

TRUST Act supporters marched near in the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, September 6, 2012. The bill would place restrictions on cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents. Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sunday to sign or veto it.

It's going on the end of the week, meaning there's a good chance that California Gov. Jerry Brown may wait until the bitter end to sign or veto two key state immigration bills with a Sunday signing deadline.

The two measures are the TRUST Act, which proposes placing limits on state and local cops' cooperation with federal immigration officials, a bill known as AB 2189, which would direct the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants who qualify for deferred action, a new federal policy allowing temporary legal status for young people who have been here since childhood.

Brown hasn't given any indication as to when he might make the call on either bill. But there seems to be a stronger chance he may approve the driver's license bill, sponsored by Los Angeles Democratic Assembly member Gil Cedillo. As for the TRUST Act, the tea leaves aren't so clear. 


California's undocumented immigrant driver's license bill: What it does, who it benefits


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The 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, October 2008

Now that a California bill which would give certain undocumented immigrants the right to a driver's license is on its way to the governor's office, it's a good time to explain just what it does and who it benefits.

AB 2189 cleared the state Assembly late Thursday night and is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval. It's the latest of Democratic Los Angeles Assembly member Gil Cedillo's many efforts to allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants in California, legally barred from obtaining them since 1993. But unlike some headlines might imply, its scope is limited.

The beneficiaries would be young undocumented immigrants who qualify for deferred action, a form of temporary legal status they may apply for under a new Obama administration policy; it would not apply to all undocumented immigrants in the state. From a bill summary:


A list of immigration bills being considered in California

ca capitor

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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