California Governor Vetoes Bills

September 30, 2012

Adela de la Torre: 213-400-7822; [email protected]

Governor of California Fails to Enact Sound, Inclusive Policy

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Governor Jerry Brown ended California’s legislative session by vetoing two major bills designed to improve public safety and guarantee basic labor protections for domestic workers. The TRUST Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Ammiano, would have restored public trust in law enforcement by ensuring that immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety do not fear that they will be placed in federal deportation proceedings as a result of an encounter with the local police. The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, also sponsored by Ammiano, would have made California the second state in the United States to codify the basic labor rights of domestic workers, a population long excluded from basic labor regulations.

“By failing to sign the TRUST Act, Governor Brown signaled that he cares more about deportation quotas established 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., than about the safety of our communities and the unity of our families,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “The TRUST Act, which won widespread support from communities of faith, and labor, as well as endorsements from key law enforcement leaders, would have represented a firm and positive step toward an inclusive policy and away from a draconian deportation state like Arizona. Governor Brown had an opportunity to support the communities that had faith in him, and show the country that a more inclusive legislative path is possible. Unfortunately, Brown squandered that opportunity tonight.”

“The governor also showed that he couldn’t follow in another state’s positive footsteps this evening by failing to sign into law the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This bill would have allowed workers who take care of our families, children, and homes to have the same basic protections the rest of us consider essential for a fair and just workplace. A similar bill was signed into law last year in New York, and those of us who believe that all people should count on basic workplace rights had hoped that California would follow New York’s lead. Unfortunately, despite widespread support in both chambers of the California legislature, as well as support from so many sectors of society, Governor Brown failed to allow this common-sense piece of legislation to become law.”

“One need not look further back than the mid ‘90s to know that California’s immigrant voters will be stronger, not weaker, as a result of this setback. Courageous domestic workers, immigrants, and allies showed their leadership in launching impressive advocacy campaigns promoting these two visionary bills.  Governor Brown should remember that failure to stand up for the communities of color that compose a growing portion of California’s population today can and will lead to a negative result at the ballot box in the future.”

Earlier this week, Brown did sign into law AB 1899, which provides continued access to in-state tuition, scholarships, fee waivers and financial aid to otherwise eligible crime survivors who are granted a T or U status.  Prior to this law, survivors who cooperated with law enforcement and obtained one of these statuses, became ineligible for in-state tuition and other assistance that is available to other California college students regardless of their status. This legislation, which corrects this inadvertent gap in the law, was supported by anti-trafficking and anti-domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, higher education institutions, students, immigrant rights and civil rights groups, received unanimous support throughout the legislative process.

Added Hincapié, “While we were pleased to see that legislation to improve access to education for immigrant communities was signed into law, Brown should have shown similar leadership in other areas affecting the daily lives of Californian workers and community members. This deep disappointment will not be soon forgotten.

“Immigrant communities across the state will now organize to ensure that their local jurisdictions adopt policies that protect their communities from the harsh immigration enforcement practices that are separating families and devastating communities. Ultimately, change is needed at the federal level.  The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency must stop wreaking havoc on 400,000 families across the country each year, take the administrative steps necessary to stop deporting vibrant members of our communities, and start working toward creating an immigration system that allows aspiring Americans to continue contributing their best to our country.”

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