Gov. Brown Vetoes Bills Allowing Undocumented Immigrants on State Boards, Blocking ICE Arrests From Courtrooms

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two bills Thursday seeking to expand the rights of immigrants living in the country illegally and protect them from deportation.

One bill would have allowed anyone to serve on state boards and commissions regardless of their immigration status, while the other sought to block immigration authorities from making arrests inside courthouses.

The move by Brown, a Democrat, avoids opening another front in California’s war with President Donald Trump.

The governor said he saw no reason to change a state law requiring citizenship to serve on state and local boards, which oversee zoning laws, regulate professional licenses and perform a wide variety of other functions.

“I believe existing law — which requires citizenship for these forms of public service — is the better path,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens outside Los Angeles who wrote the bill, predicted the citizenship requirement will eventually disappear.

“California benefits when all community members can serve the state that has given them so much,” Lara said in a statement. “If people have earned the opportunity to serve through their experience and talents, we should invite them to the table.”

In March, the state Senate Rules Committee appointed a woman living in California without authorization to a state advisory board. In 2016, Brown appointed someone in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the California State University Board of Trustees.

Brown vetoed another bill, also written by Lara, that sought to prohibit immigration authorities from making arrests inside courthouses — a key point of contention between California officials and the Trump administration.

Brown wrote in his veto message that he supports the intent of the bill but worries it may have unintended consequences.

He did not elaborate but said he wants to wait until the state attorney general publishes model policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement in courthouses, which is required under legislation Brown signed last year.

Brown did sign another Lara bill prohibiting hotels and bus companies from releasing the names of their customers to immigration authorities without a court order.

That measure was prompted by a report in the Phoenix New Times newspaper that Motel 6 employees in Arizona were handing over guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.