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Bloggings on Immigration Law and Policy

by Greg Siskind

ICE Director Allegedly Blackmailed California Governor

Many in the pro-immigration community were puzzled and deeply disappointed that California Governor Gerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have limited how local law enforcement agencies implemented Secure Communities in the state. Brown publicly stated that the bill was too vague and did not contain an adequate list of crimes for which cooperation with ICE would be warranted.

But was there more to it than that? According to Jonathan Perez, a DREAM advocate writing in Huffington Post, there might have been another explanation:

In order to stop the California TRUST Act which had gained widespread support, Immigration Customs Enforcement's Director John Morton went as far as to blackmail the Governor of California into vetoing the TRUST Act. When advocates asked the governors office why Brown vetoed the bill, the staff responded that they had received a call from John Morton Director of ICE saying that if Brown doesn't veto the TRUST Act that California would essentially go back to the old days in reference to immigration raids and more overt.


I actually would argue that while I'm no fan of Secure Communities, I think that efforts to bypass federal authority in immigration apply are a problem whether they are from anti-immigrant legislatures like Arizona or pro-immigrant legislatures like California's. On the other hand, there's something unseemly about what Morton has done and it appears to be politicizing ICE. I also whether Morton's move was cleared by the White House?

Hat tip to Dan Kowalski for the link.

About The Author

Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.