SACRAMENTO – California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed an immigration measure dubbed the “anti-Arizona” bill late on Sunday that would shield some illegal immigrants from federal status checks.
The bill would have prohibited local authorities from honouring federal detention requests, which may lead to deportation proceedings, on illegal immigrants unless those individuals were charged or convicted of a serious or violent felony.
Supporters said the measure would have served as a counterpoint for what they say is racial profiling inherent in an Arizona law that cracks down on illegal immigration that was allowed to stand by the US Supreme Court earlier this summer.
In his veto message, Brown said that, while he supports comprehensive immigration reform, the bill was “fatally flawed” by exempted individuals who had committed crimes such as child abuse, drug trafficking and selling weapons.
Unwise to interfere
“I believe it’s unwise to interfere with a sheriff’s discretion to comply with a detainer issued for people with those kinds of troubling criminal records,” he said.
Brown’s veto sparked ire among immigrant-rights groups who sponsored the measure and had been lobbying the governor to take a lenient stance toward illegal immigrants.
“Governor Brown has failed California’s immigrant communities, imperiling civil rights and leaving us all less safe,” Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Labourer Organising Network, said in a statement.
Activists had hoped that Brown would join a small but growing national trend in which communities resisted the information-sharing program between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and local law enforcement, known as “Secure Communities.” (Reuters)