Jerry Brown backs Obama on immigration order

Gov. Jerry Brown shakes hands with guests in October 2013 after signing a bill that will allow immigrants lacking legal immigration status to obtain California driver's licenses.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has made California a more welcoming place for immigrants who are in the country illegally, criticized on Tuesday a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block President Obama’s executive order reducing deportations.

More than 1 million immigrants in the state could be affected by Obama’s policy if it’s allowed to take effect.

“California stands firmly with the White House,” Brown said in a statement. “Further delay will not fix our broken immigration system.”

The legal standoff arose when 26 states sued to block the president’s executive order, which would shield millions around the country from deportation. A federal judge in Texas said the order was improper, and the Obama administration has pledged to appeal.


Since taking office in January 2011, Brown has signed legislation granting driver’s licenses for immigrants in the country illegally. He’s also extended taxpayer-funded financial aid to college students who were brought into the country illegally as children.

There are about 2.6 million immigrants in the state who lack legal status, roughly one out of every four in the U.S., according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Brown has called for national legislation creating a path to citizenship, and he routinely criticizes political leaders in Washington for failing to address the issue.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is running for U.S. Senate next year, also criticized the federal judge’s ruling, saying it “will delay justice and fairness for many immigrant families.”


“President Obama has proposed common-sense actions to help address our broken immigration system — using the same executive authority that every president has used in the last five decades,” she said in a statement.

Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) issued a statement as well.

“Hardworking families across this country are suffering under the ever present threat of deportation—hampering their ability to fully contribute to our economy and crippling trust with law enforcement,” he said.

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.