In the past week, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed bills allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses and practice law in California. He approved another measure barring police from turning undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities, except when they have committed serious crimes.
But allowing noncitizens to serve on juries? The governor said AB 1401, which would have allowed that, went too far.
“Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship,” Brown said in a brief message announcing he had vetoed AB 1401. “This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury. I don’t think that’s right.”
The veto came hours after Latino lawmakers had argued that Brown’s signing of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano's AB 4, the "Trust Act," which sets limits on when local police can cooperate with federal immigration authorities, had positioned California as a national leader on the immigration issue. “This is so important. Particularly at a time when the federal government is absolutely missing in action,” said former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “When Republicans primarily, but also Democrats, have failed to do anything with respect to immigration reform.”
After signing the Trust Act, Brown released a statement boasting, “While Washington waffles on immigration, California’s forging ahead. I’m not waiting.”