Civic obligation for non-citizens?

by Vanessa Ex on October 18, 2013 - 12:04pm

There are a lot of social issues in the entire world, but also next to us. Recently in California, non-citizen immigrants demonstrated their will to obtain the right to participate into juries.

The governor of California, Jerry Brown, did not signed a bill allowing it. He claims that task and responsibility belongs to citizenship. The Assemblymen Rocky Chavez said” The debate over this bill attempted to create a social wedge in our communities over our justice system”. The lake of vision of the population is blamed. People focus on the social wedge instead of the justice system which is the main subject. Many Americans support his point of view and think it would be more representative if only the civic population could serve on juries.

On the other hand, the California jury duty bill’s sponsor, democratic Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski shared in an interview that he was “disappointed” with the veto, because such immigrants were” part of the fabric of our communities”. He added that they benefit from protections of Americans laws, so he think it is totally fair to ask to share the obligation to serve jury duty just as they serve in courts, schools, police departments and armed forces. According to him, there is nothing wrong with imposing this civic obligation on immigrants who would stay in the United States. Another important point is the fact that with the participation of those immigrants the jury would be much more representative of the whole population living in California. According to the State’s Judicial Council around 10 million Californians are convened for jury duty and every year around 4 million can serve it.

There is a phrase ‘jury of your peers’ which means something in our criminal justice system for assemblymen Rocky Chavez and for others. This sentence brings a lot of controversies because some people can interpret it in an exclusive way which represents rejection racism or others can interpret it as a phrase representing the protection of a solid justice system.  Be careful, it is important to not generalize the situation. The non-citizen immigrants did not get this right but they got others. By example, Mr. Brown expanded privileges to the state’s immigrants allowing illegal immigrants in California to apply for driving license. I think the non-citizen immigrants are considered by the state and we should show more comprehension to the social problem. There is a reform happening for the good for the non-citizen immigrants and for the rest of the population who will benefits to have citizens more autonomous who can share the civic obligation. But for now, we should encourage the accommodations made for those immigrants even if it is a little change. One step at a time and one day we will reach the goal of equality.


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