By: Alex Olivares
Gov. Jerry Brown signed eight bills into law to improve the circumstances of immigrants living in the state illegally, moving towards a sensible and more compassionate immigration policy.
Among that legislation was the Trust Act, which would ease detainment policy in the Secure Communities program.
The Trust Act ensures that Immigration and Customs Enforcement may detain immigrants living in the country without proper documentation for serious crimes, including gang violence and
drug smuggling, but may not detain them for minor infractions.
This should help immigrants feel more at ease around police, allowing for reporting crimes against the community.
Along with the Trust Act, other new laws allow immigrants without proper documentation some of the privileges provided to residents, including the opportunity of paying the lower in-state tuition at all public California colleges and universities.
Other protections were also included. It is considered extortion to threaten a person with deportation, and employers that retaliate against employees based on citizenship can have their business license suspended.
Congress has yet to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, much to the frustration of many Republicans as well as Democrats.
President Obama, who promised to help solve the problem with illegal immigration, has had a mixed record on the issue. Despite vowing to help create a path to citizenship, his administration has increased deportations, which are a short-sighted solution to a long-term problem.
The legislation Gov. Brown passed is rational, providing immigrants with better lives through additional opportunities and security.
Immigrants will continue to enter the U.S. illegally no matter what measures are taken to secure the border. People make the perilous journey in hopes of a better life. To ignore their growing presence, or worse, to treat them all as hardened criminals is unethical and immoral.
Our elected officials show they understand this. Now it is time for our entire nation to achieve this consciousness.
TRUST / Local police and border officials will be limited to detaining those guilty of serious crimes, including drug trafficking, child abuse and gang-related activities.
WORK-STUDY / Non-citizens without proper documentation may now apply for driver’s licenses. Additionally, they will be eligible for in-state tuition to public junior colleges and universities.