Many Boyle Heights residents can benefit from new legislation passed this week by California Governor Jerry Brown, which expands rights for immigrants. The governor stopped short, however, in allowing non-citizens the right of jury service.
Reversing a twenty-year old decision that barred undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses, the Governor signed legislation to restore the privilege.
Brown said the new law would make California’s roadways safer by requiring motorists to take safety courses and carry insurance.
The bill requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to begin issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants by Jan. 1, 2015.
Speaking in Los Angeles last week the Governor said the measure sends a clear message to immigrants. “No longer are undocumented people in the shadows,” he said. “They are alive and well and respected in the state of California.”
Brown also passed some controversial legislation, the so-called Trust Act, which stops local law enforcement officers from detaining immigrants without serious criminal records and turning them over to federal authorities.
The Governor broke with Democrats in the State Legislature, however, and vetoed a bill that would have allowed non-citizens to serve on juries. “Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship,” Brown said in a veto message.
Supporters of the measure had said it would make it easier to grant legal immigrants a jury of their peers.