A historic moment

California’s undocumented immigrants will now have much more peace of mind thanks to laws enacted by Governor Jerry Brown. After too many years of frustration, today a future appears on the horizon in which working men and women can dedicate themselves to their jobs without the constant threat of deportation.

Within days, there was approval for driver’s licenses; the TRUST Act to prevent the devastation of the Secure Communities program, which split up families; and a series of laws punishing those who threaten to denounce the undocumented, protecting immigrants from scammers who promise to fix their documents and educational assistance in some cases.

Undoubtedly, these developments are historic. We have been through a long journey from the reviled Proposition 187 until today—with Californians beginning to recognize the value of immigrants, no matter their immigration status. They found that workers who they see on a daily basis in various jobs did not match the stereotype of the criminals that some wanted to depict.

The shift in California’s political climate over the past two decades let us reach this moment. In Washington, federal immigration reform may be in trouble, but in Sacramento this legislative session did not disappoint on immigration.

This year was different thanks to the tireless work of activists who never gave up the fight when facing the frustration of the governor’s veto; lawmakers who proposed their bills and patiently shaped them so they would get signed; and those who when it all seemed lost, never gave in because they knew it was a fair struggle.

Let’s give credit where it is due. After calling from this page many times for Governor Brown to sign these laws, it is fair to be grateful. Not only for his signature, but for his support. An example is when a signal from him helped revive the licenses. Brown’s legacy will remain permanently etched on the hearts of millions of people.

This is a historic time in California