Featured Headline: Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Not About Immigration

Assemblyman Luis Alejo has actively pursued immigration reform issues, but the Daily News says his efforts to allow undocumented workers access to drivers licenses isn't an immigration issue. It's a public safety one. Image: ##http://www.asmdc.org/members/a30/press/immigration-reform-resolution-passes-committee##Assembly Dems##

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a tongue lashing in the comments section for any article or opinion piece as I did when I wrote in December of 2011 that it was past time for the State of California to license undocumented immigrants. The piece also supported LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s position that cars shouldn’t be taken from undocumented drivers because they don’t have a license, if the state makes it impossible for these immigrants to obtain them in the first place.

This year, A.B. 60, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, has a real chance of becoming law.

Last week, the Assembly passed legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants access to driving licenses. An editorial in today’s Daily News, while not touching on the Beck issue today, basically agrees with our larger point from December 2011. Allowing undocumented immigrants access to our driver training and licensing program isn’t an “immigration issue,” it’s a “safety issue.”

No — licenses wouldn’t be “given” to immigrants any more than they’re given to U.S. citizens. Everybody has to pass written and driving tests to earn licenses. This certifies that you know how to operate a vehicle and know the rules of the road, and means you can be identified after an accident.

The most important effect of allowing undocumented immigrants to go through this process is that more people who probably are driving cars and trucks anyway will be doing so safely, to the benefit of themselves, their passengers, other motorists and pedestrians.

Legislation allowing undocumented workers access to drivers licenses was once passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Gray Davis in 2003. After the issue became a hot one in the recall election, the legislature rescinded the law before it could take effect. New legislation was introduced every year by Assemblyman and Senator Gil Cedillo who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in last month’s election.

There is no timeline for when the Senate will take up the legislation.

  • Joshua Crowell

    Queue the people who will decry all the ILLEGALS — those terrifying, unsafe ILLEGALS! — while swearing up and down that they’re not — absolutely not — BIGOTS. By the way, have I mentioned that we’re talking about ILLEGALS!

  • Anonymous

    It’s a non-issue to me for two reasons. First, when I got my license the test was truncated because the DMV was packed. I didn’t even have to show I could back the car up or parallel park correctly. Having a license does not, in a practical sense, prove to me that a person knows how to drive. Considering that driving unsafe (too fast, too distracted, too angry) is already ingrained in mainstream culture (i.e. NOT just a few bad apples on the road), I don’t have much faith in that system. So give them licenses or not. It makes no real difference to me. It’s only symbolic.

    Second, the illegals are already here and driving. As I have grown up and cemented my own views on illegal immigration, I support heavily restricted immigration based on the realities of our geographical, economical and cultural position. You could have open borders or a welfare state, but you cannot have both.

    But that ship has sailed. Republicans never did a damn thing about it despite stated and condescending desires to the contrary. After all, it strengthens their donors who desire cheap labor. And Democrats never wanted to because that strengthens their voter base.

    So rather than take a shoulda, woulda, coulda approach (we should have clamped down on the border a long time ago), the best case going forward is to look at assimilating the millions of people who are already here and encourage them to embrace American values (property rights, personal responsibility, and things along those lines). Some do, some don’t, and I think more recent immigrants and their children are more likely not to than families that have been here longer. Blah, blah, blah I’m a racist, bigot, etc. Don’t care anymore. I think Mexican culture, the kind that immigrants bring with them, is more collectivist than American culture, and I think that has and will lead to political and social tension.

    On a broader note, I sometimes wonder what would have happened had the Mexican Revolution not erupted and destroyed agriculture opportunities at the time. Would my great-grandfather have still immigrated to the United States as a young man? Was he right to abandon his country? Why must Mexico be a place to flee from? Isn’t it better in the long run to clean up that nation? From the United States’ perspective we should end the war on drugs and encourage free trade, but I don’t think we have any moral obligation to accept their people as citizens.

  • calwatch

    Damien always gets the heat, because his position fails to consider the fact that “undocumented workers” (are we going to have the DMV verify employment status too???) by definition don’t have legitimate documentation, as such there is no way to verify if the identity they are giving is even correct. They could be a fugitive from running down a pedestrian in a foreign country, but assumed a different identity in this country and started with a clean slate. *IF* the unauthorized immigrant have filed paperwork with the Federal government, then they can get a license.

    But as it stands right now, if this law was passed, I could leave another state or country with a bad driving record (fingerprints are not routinely shared between states, and never within foreign countries), “launder” my identity with documentation from another country claiming that I was born there (there is no way the DMV can verify paperwork from the 200+ countries in the world – at least the Feds have a fighting chance of doing so, plus the penalty of federal prison if the documents are fraudulent), and now drive and have an identification that, even if it is printed “Not to be used as legal identification” on it, can still allow me routine access to airplanes, military bases (“passing through” Camp Pendleton on the NCTD bus), and anywhere a valid identification is required. At the very least, they need to present a valid foreign passport, since foreign passports have security standards, but many illegal immigrants from Central and South America don’t have them. Heck, many of them don’t have birth certificates, so they could be violating age restrictions (such as those for graduated licensing or alcohol) since they are asserting their age without documentation.

    The whole point of the driver’s license is not necessarily to license driving standards, but it is to verify someone’s identity so that if something bad happens, they can be held accountable. Having enough loopholes to have someone make up a new identity out of cloth does not encourage responsibility in the slightest, and Damien is wrong here.


    excerpt U.S.Constitution:

    Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; NOR DENY TO ANY PERSON WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION (THE UNDOCUMENTED AS WELL) “THE EQUAL” PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.

    CAN’T YOU READ ? !

  • Erik Griswold

    Unfortunately, that is not in the Constitution itself, but is in one of the amemdments (the 14th). Amendments can easily be repealed, just look at the 18th.

  • it will be nice when one of these illegals hit me and i can sue the state for not properly training the illegal person(s) on safety , this ilegal crap giveaway will be a gold mine for whites and lawyers ,so lets sue the hell out of the ilegal drivers their insurance companies and the state and county for all they are worth – Welcome to America’s Law system Mexico – All whites need to pass this info on – once we get this going most ilegals and insurance companies will leave the system and the state , go for the pocketbook and bury the Law Breakers and the State – have a nice day



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