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Thursday, Sep 05 2013 11:01 PM

California jurors should be full-fledged citizens

By The Bakersfield Californian

Assimilating immigrants into their new American communities is an admirable goal. But AB 1401, which passed the Legislature and awaits Gov. Jerry Brown's signature, goes too far.

The bill proposes to allow non-citizen, legal immigrants to serve on California juries. Supporters claim it will expand the number of people who can serve on juries and expand the diversity of juries. The bill's author claims without their participation, juries lose the immigrant's perspectives.

But the road to U.S. citizenship, which is open to legal immigrants, includes the completion of civics classes, and a demonstrated understanding to the nation's political and judicial systems, and the subtleties of its laws. In many countries cultural nuances, not just the laws themselves, are very different from those of this country. Without the appropriate background, how can we expect a non-citizen immigrant to sit in judgment as a juror.

Brown has until Oct. 13 to veto the bill or allow it to become law. He shouldn't need that much time to see its folly.

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