California’s Alien Lobby Angry---Want it All, Now!

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 17, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown is the target of dueling organizations that represent aliens. One faction is pressuring Brown to sign the TRUST Act (AB 1081) and, at the same time, urging the governor to kill the driver’s license bill (AB 2189) that they claim affects many fewer people, namely “childhood arrivals” to whom the Department of Homeland Security recently granted “deferred action”

Alien activists argue that the Trust Act would give millions of California’s illegal immigrants safe harbor from the federal Secure Communities program while only about 450,000 would benefit from A.B. 2189, the license bill.

The concern, almost certainly unfounded, is that Brown may sign only one of the two major immigration bills. Oday Guerrero, an alien and founder of the 20-member Central Valley Dream Team, said:

"The Trust Act is really crucial. We wouldn’t want Gov. Brown to favor one bill that would only benefit a small percentage of the undocumented population over another bill that would benefit a lot of people, not just Dreamers but their parents, their aunts, uncles, family members."

But youth groups, mostly from Southern California, argue that once aliens have confirmation of their deferred action status that includes work authorization, they need driving privileges to get to their new jobs.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other California congressional representatives including Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) also entered the fray. They wrote a letter to Brown espousing all the false but familiar complaints about Secure Communities: that Secure Communities has too often detained low-level offenders rather than the violent criminals it was supposed to target and, eventually, deport. Federal immigration detainers are requests, not orders, proponents also argue, adding disingenuously for the umpteenth time that the program has causes aliens to mistrust law enforcement.

The letter’s passionate but misleading Trust Act defense concluded that:

"The measure is designed to enhance public safety and protect civil liberties, while also promoting fiscal responsibility at the state and local levels."  [Pelosi, California Democrats Urge Gov. Brown to Sign Trust Act, Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2012]

CAPS has issued three Action Alerts opposing the Trust Act and alien driver’s licenses. Contact Governor Brown here to urge that he veto AB 2189, go here to express your support of California Sheriffs who want to the Trust Act rejected and here to encourage your Congressman to co-sign Rep. Duncan Hunter’s proposed legislation that would deny federal funding to states that issue licenses to President Obama’s “childhood arrival” aliens.

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