Skip to comments.Latinos demand law on licenses [Identification as illegal would be like Jew wearing Star of David]
Posted on 05/26/2004 7:59:42 AM PDT by SJackson
Governor pressed to back bill giving illegals right to drive
Sacramento -- The Legislature's powerful Latino caucus says it is losing patience with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for so far failing to support compromise legislation that would let illegal immigrants obtain driver's licenses.
The 24 lawmakers will meet with Schwarzenegger on Thursday and plan to say they expect him to keep his promise to support an alternative to the driver's license bill that lawmakers repealed shortly after he won the recall election.
Setting up a possible showdown with the popular governor, the caucus, the chief advocate of allowing undocumented immigrants the right to have driver's licenses, intends to push ahead with a new bill with or without Schwarzenegger's support. And some Latino lawmakers said they may withhold their votes on his budget proposal if he does not agree to a compromise on the driver's license legislation.
"The governor will be clear after the meeting that this measure will be our highest priority, and we intend to do everything possible to ensure its passage," said Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh, D-Los Angeles, who is chair of the Latino Caucus. "The governor told us it would be resolved before June; June is fast approaching."
Democratic lawmakers reluctantly agreed in December to repeal a law that would have allowed the state's 2 million undocumented workers to obtain driver's licenses after its opponents gathered enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot.
The law was signed by Gov. Gray Davis during the recall election campaign. Critics charged Davis was blatantly attempting to woo Latino voters because he had vetoed two earlier versions of the bill. Opponents of the law said it undermined immigration laws and would assist terrorists seeking to obtain identity documents.
Schwarzenegger, who had campaigned against the law, pledged upon its repeal to work on a "sensible solution" to the safety issues posed by undocumented immigrants driving on California roads and highways without licenses. But in the following six months, little progress has been made.
A spokeswoman for the governor said talks are continuing.
"We are not focused on the timing, we're focused on getting the policy right," said Margita Thompson, Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman.
She said there is no time line for getting a bill passed. Lawmakers who had put their faith in the governor for a prompt resolution of the issue said they are growing impatient.
"The time is now," said Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who authored the measure and then agreed to its repeal after getting the governor's assurance that they would work together on a new bill.
"We listened very carefully to all the concerns raised by the Legislature, the governor and the public, and we're working to present a bill that is responsive to the concerns raised," he said.
Cedillo said if the governor does not sign on, he will move forward without him.
The governor's main concerns have been on security and requiring insurance.
The bill, to be introduced next week, will include background checks and a higher processing fee to avoid costs to the state and may require applicants to take citizenship classes.
The bill would also make it clear that non-citizens could not use the license to vote, serve on juries or buy firearms. There will be no distinguishing mark on the license, however, something Cedillo likens to Jews having to wear a Star of David as identification in Nazi-held Europe.
Since all motorists are currently required to have insurance, it is not clear that anything extra needs to be done in that area for illegal immigrants.
The language of the bill will also reflect polls taken by Cedillo's office that show most voters support granting a license if it gets undocumented workers into the naturalization process.
While members of the Latino Caucus have yet to meet to discuss their strategy on the bill, some are ready to resist Schwarzenegger's budget if he does not follow through.
"Leverage -- it's what we have," Escutia said. "The governor has learned that lesson. He is quite adept at using his celebrity as leverage. My challenge is to convince Democrats to put this in the mix."
UC Berkeley political science Professor Bruce Cain said this is the first IOU that the governor is going to have to repay.
Cedillo and supporters of the law point out that the right was on California's books for many years before it was taken away in the 1980s. New Mexico recently allowed undocumented workers to get driver's licenses, joining 17 other states.
"This is a win-win for the people of New Mexico, and we should do no less for the people of California," Cedillo said.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Clear cut discrimination which will have to be dealt with next. How does Arnold repay folk who couldn't, or at least shouldn't, vote in the first place?
If I am required to have a license, then every other driver must have one, as well.
Breaking the law is not an ethnic or religious group. Is he implying Jews did something that warranted being singled out? Disgusting.
Yeah, I wouldn't want the terrorists to kill me in a car wreck............
Illegals are owed NOTHING!
This is getting absurd.
Did you mean uninsured terrorist?
I carry un-insured terrorists option on my policy...........
What part of ILLEGAL do these people NOT UNDERSTAND?
When are we going to round up and INTERN these INVADERS?!
The Legislature's powerful Latino caucus says it is losing patience
How powerful is the Legislature's WHITE caucus? Oh, that's right, it would be discriminatory to have a white caucus. If Arnold sells us out on this one, as far as I'm concerned, he's done.
Fine with me, as long as immigration is called when they apply.
What do you think immigration will do about it?
No licenses for illegals, ever.
Illegals (which means they are here ILLEGALLY) should be deported. PERIOD.
Really? I spend a lot of time on illegal immigration threads, and I have seen some pretty nasty stuff threatened. However, I have not yet seen anyone suggest we round up all the illegals, confiscate their 'wealth', ship them to internment camps, and systematically exterminate them.
Pretty harsh rhetoric, wouldn't you say Senor Cedillo?
Licenses for illegals has nothing to do with driving privileges.
Don't get caught in that trap.