Something is afoot this week when it comes to immigration and California, and the rest of the nation should pay attention.
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law which will allow immigrants in California to legally drive, after decades where the state legislature, the Governor, or both refused to approve such a measure.
Also this week, in response to the introduction of a House immigration bill on Wednesday, two California Republicans, Reps. David Valadao and Jeff Denham, indicated that they might be interested in supporting it. As Denham told Politico, “The biggest issue I had with the Senate bill was the border-security piece. I support the McCaul bill” (the portion of the House bill that replaced the Senate’s provisions on border security). Echoed Rep. Valadao: “If there’s some common-sense legislation out there, it doesn’t matter who starts it. If there’s an opportunity to do something that’s moving the ball forward, I’ll look at it.” House Republicans should support the new bill, since its provisions are bipartisan in nature. Such support would help allow the House to finally move forward with immigration reform, after a total lack of such action this entire year.
And finally, Janet Napolitano, former secretary of DHS, reportedly had dinner with Governor Brown this week, where she came out in favor of and urged the Governor to sign the TRUST Act—a bill that would essentially cancel out some of the worst effects of Secure Communities, a key program that DHS expanded nationwide during Napolitano’s tenure.
As NDLON tweeted Wednesday, “You read correctly.”
It’s nice that Napolitano, whose old agency used Secure Communities to help deport a record number of immigrants, now thinks that Secure Communities isn’t so hot. DHS under Napolitano expanded the program nationwide, but now she’s encouraging California to shrug the yoke. Which is better late than never and all, but it’s sort of like the NSA telling people to watch out for snooping. Or Goldman Sachs warning investors to be careful buying mortgages. Or Miley Cyrus telling kids not to twerk. Or something.
But ultimately, Napolitano is right. Jerry Brown should sign the TRUST Act—as soon as possible, before the October 13 deadline. It will help make communities safer, it will help immigrants trust the police again, and it will protect families from what Cuéntame called “the ICE monster.” And California Republicans like David Valadao, Devin Nunes, and Jeff Denham should listen to their constituents and sign onto the new House immigration bill—there’s no reason for them not to. California can show the nation what it means to support policies that make sense, instead of stubbornly standing in the way of common sense. It will have been a long time coming, but it’s better late than never.