Earlier this week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law, AB 2189, that will allow thousands of undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
At the same time, Brown vetoed the Trust Act, which would have prohibited local law enforcement from helping federal authorities detain undocumented.
His actions were announced Sunday as the deadline neared to finish work on nearly 1,000 bills sent to him by the state Legislature this year.
The passing of the bill AB 2189 instead of the Trust Act sparked protests and lobbying efforts by immigrant advocacy groups like the Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA).
DTLA has been organizing locally and nationally for the empowerment and right to the legalization of undocumented youth.
Carlos Amador, a national immigrant youth leader and organizer with DTLA and a Cal State Fullerton alumnus, said the bill is not any different from other state departments.
“The California Department of Motor Vehicles that already states that those individuals with a work permit can get such state benefit,” said Amador.
According to Amador, AB 2189 is no more than a symbolic law that says that only those who have a work permits can apply for drivers licenses.
Amador said he was very disappointed of Brown for signing a “meaningless bill.”
Vice President for Student Affairs office graduate assistant Nancy Camarillo said she supports the the governor’s decision to pass AB 2189.
“It is great that Gov. Jerry Brown passed AB 2189 because it gives young undocumented immigrants the ability to obtain a driver’s license,” said Camarillo.
Camarillo did say, however, that the bill is not much different from what deferred action is providing to those who qualify and apply.
“Signing the Trust Act would have provided relief to the immigrant community, and with vetoing the Trust Act the community is now left with the discretion of police officials,” she said.
Brown wrote in his veto message that he supported the intent of the Trust Act, but it was “fatally flawed,” as it would have protected undocumented immigrants involved in such crimes as child abuse, drug trafficking and selling weapons.
According to Amador, the remarks made by Brown are no more than technical issues that could have been fixed if he had accepted to meet with advocates and the authors of the bill.
“If these technical issues were vocalized before, they could have been fixed. He acted disingenuously and on behalf of the Sheriffs Association and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency which have made the deportation of people their most profitable business,” Amador said.
CSUF alumnus and AB 540 student Jesus Cortez said Brown took the easy route by signing AB 2189 into law and that the law is redundant.
“If he believes that he did the immigrant community a favor by signing AB 2189, he is completely mistaken. On the contrary, by vetoing the TRUST Act, he has left the door open to further criminalization of undocumented people,” he said.
Angel Martínez, an AB 540 student at Fullerton College, said that the bill is a positive move towards freedom within the undocumented youth.
“It helps to alleviate the paranoia that many of us feel if driving without a license and it reminds us that it is a right we have earned. I particularly feel more confident and calm to know I can obtain a driver’s license and that I now possess a valid form of ID that will not be rejected,” said Martínez.