Over the weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the TRUST Act, a bill designed to prioritize the deportations of the worst-of-the-worst criminal immigrants, while protecting immigrant families and communities.
In the postmortem fallout, check out this scathing editorial from La Opinión:
Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of the TRUST Act means political considerations triumphed over protecting California’s immigrant community from the arbitrary enforcement of federal law.
The enactment of the state law would have probably led to a confrontation in court with the Justice Department, since it established state regulation of a federal program, Secure Communities. The governor apparently did not understand that this was a fair battle, one worth fighting…
Separately, the governor based his veto mainly on the supposed poor drafting of the bill. He argued that more crimes need to be codified; that is why he is endangering public safety. In reality, what endangers it is the overzealousness of the authorities, which makes victims fear deportation if they report crimes. We hope there is an effort to draft a bill the governor considers suitable.
However, we think Brown missed the chance to do the right thing, to leave a legacy of reason and humanity at a time anti-immigrant fervor has spread to several regions of the country. It was time to send a message that California is different, but he did not. He chose not to fight against the opposition of some law enforcement agencies or confront the Obama administration. Brown’s veto is a great disappointment.
UPDATE: And today’s NY Times editorial from Lawrence Downes:
Gov. Jerry Brown of California dropped the ball on Sunday when he vetoed the Trust Act, a bill aimed at keeping harmless immigrants out of the deportation dragnet — not out of misguided compassion, but to bolster public safety. The police in immigrant communities depend on the cooperation of witnesses and victims; when local officers become federal immigration deputies, fear overrides trust and crime festers…
Local crime fighting and civil immigration enforcement have become confusingly, dangerously entangled. States like Arizona are jumping into the deportation business; sheriff’s offices are run like rogue ICE outposts; racial profiling and other abuses are rampant. Mr. Brown could have put California on a better path. He failed, making it more urgent for President Obama to reform ICE to compel it to focus on dangerous offenders and to stop outsourcing critical discretion to local sheriffs and police departments.
Mr. Brown also vetoed a bill to make his state the second, after New York, to extend basic labor protections to domestic workers. He won praise for signing a bill to allow driver’s licenses for young people whose deportations have been halted by the Obama administration. But judging from the dismay that his vetoes have caused, Mr. Brown has work to do to repair ties with a larger set of constituents. He can start by protecting their safety, and their rights.