California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two bills Thursday that would have allowed noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants, to serve on state boards and commissions, and would have prevented immigration authorities from making arrests inside courthouses, Fox News informed.
Brown’s actions come as California has sparred with the Trump administration about its perceived accommodation of illegal immigrants. An estimated 2 million people are in the state illegally, the Orange County Register reported.
“Governance belongs to a nation’s citizens,” said Mike Spence, a councilman in the Southern California city of West Covina. “Even Jerry Brown understands citizenship has to mean something.”
Trump has voiced his frustration with California’s immigration policies, calling them “unconstitutional” and “illegal.”
Had Brown, a Democrat, signed SB-174, California would have been the first state in the country to allow legal residents and undocumented immigrants to serve on local and state boards that advise on policy areas such as employment and labor, the Register reported.
“I believe existing law, which requires citizenship for these forms of public service, is the better path,” Brown said in explaining his veto.
The drafted law would have eliminated “transient aliens” from the government code in an effort to clarify that anyone can hold an appointed civil office no matter of the citizenship or the immigration status.
The bill’s authors, state Sen. Ricardo Lara and Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, both Democrats, said the language conflicts with the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to those born or naturalized in the United States.
“There was a time when Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, African Americans, and Catholics were prevented from serving, and California cleared away those barriers,” Lara said. “I predict that this barrier will eventually fall.”