Skip to comments.CA: Driver's license bill clears crucial first test in Legislature
Posted on 06/15/2004 5:29:58 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO (AP) - A bill allowing an estimated 2 million illegal immigrant drivers in California to get legal driver's licenses cleared a Senate committee Tuesday, which was the bill's first hurdle in the Legislature.
The latest attempt to make illegal immigrants eligible for the licenses, the bill would require applicants who cannot prove legal residency in California to be fingerprinted, undergo background checks and get adult sponsors. Illegal immigrants would pay $146 for a license to cover extra costs of guaranteeing that licenses aren't used as a tool for terrorists to move freely in California.
Senate Transportation Committee Democrats favored the bill, while Republicans opposed the fourth attempt since 2001 by Sen. Gil Cedillo to overturn a 1994 ban on licenses for those who cannot prove they live legally in California. The bill passed 6-3.
"The challenge of leadership is to do what is right even it's not popular," Cedillo told committee members Tuesday when reminded that 70 percent of Californians opposed the Los Angeles Democrat's similar 2003 bill that was passed and signed by former Gov. Gray Davis only to be repealed last December under pressure from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Davis vetoed Cedillo's bill in 2002. In 2001, Cedillo withdrew it from the governor's desk after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks revealed that some of the terrorists had California driver's licenses. Florida lawmakers also recently abandoned efforts to pass an immigrant driver's license bill after law enforcement officials raised security concerns.
The Democrat's newest attempt must pass the full Senate and Assembly by Aug. 31 and be signed by Schwarzenegger by Sept. 30 to become law.
Schwarzenegger has already expressed reservations about the bill, saying he prefers that licenses be specially marked to indicate the holder is an illegal immigrant.
As in previous years, the hearing and the partisan committee votes revealed the popular rifts in California over illegal immigration that comes largely from Central America and Mexico. Conservatives, liberals, labor unions, religious groups, police officers and population control advocates sparred again Tuesday over rights owed a largely poor population residing in the state illegally, but working menial jobs unwanted by most citizens.
"They are embedded in the foundation of our economy," said Cedillo, who noted that 90 percent of the state's agricultural workers, 75 percent of its maids and 65 percent of its gardeners are illegal immigrants. "This is a reality we must accept."
Backers of the license law portrayed it largely as a public safety issue to test, license and insure hundreds of thousands of Californians who drive without any of the three, while opponents dubbed it a reward for people who have broken the law to live in the state. Republican activists also vowed to mount an initiative campaign to overturn the law if the Legislature passed it. Adding to the complexity, Hispanic civil rights advocates oppose the bill, saying it offers illegal immigrants no confidentiality with authorities regarding their illegal status.
"Without confidentiality, this thing will dissuade people from applying," said Francisco Estrada, lobbyist for the Los Angeles-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Under the bill, citizens lacking a U.S. Social Security number would have to provide a passport or card issued by their consulate to apply, identifying themselves as illegal residents.
"This bill is really worse than the last one that was signed into law," said former Sen. Richard Mountjoy, R-Monrovia. He said an adult could sponsor an unlimited number of illegal residents for driver's licenses and predicted that a court challenge would throw out the extra costs required of applicants for background checks.
Mountjoy helped pass a bill in 1993 that overturned California's traditional practice - still used in 10 states - of not requiring proof of citizenship to get a drivers' license. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Alfred Alquist, D-San Jose, passed with support from Republicans and Democrats.
On the Net:
Read SB1160 at http://www.legislature.ca.gov
They're persistent aren't they? The only hope is Arnold will veto any license bill since the demos are bound and determined to shove this down people's throats.
One good sign is all the Republicans opposed the bill. Given the Demoncats control over the California legislature the bill will surely pass. The questions is if the bill passes with a 2/3s majority, which would require some Republican votes. From what I understand in that case the law, if Arnold signs it, cannot be overturned by a referendum.
To have such licenses, they should show proof of who they are, perhaps be made to put up a bond and their licenses should be another color, be connected to having insurance and not be allowed to be used to drive any employer's vehicle.
America disappearing before our eyes.
Arnold said he wants some sort of "alien" designation on the license. Cedillio and the pro-illegal crowd will never go for that.
The license should not be acceptable for any show of proof or for use on any application for government or state use beyond driving.
Can't be used to get food stamps, welfare or other goodies.
I just love how the politicians are kowtowing to the immigrant lobby. Haven't we seen enough of the schools deteriorating from overcrowding, the freeways falling apart, and now they want to deligitimize the de facto id one's drivers license.
And any such license issued should preclude its holder from voting. Cedillio and the pro-illegal crowd will never go for that either.
The same clowns compare this designation to the Nazis. Pretty disguisting.
What a country.
Its worse than you think. With motor voter law if this bill becomes law all these illegals can register to vote while getting their license.
Make no mistake...that is why they want them.
They're in this country ILLEGALLY; do they really care if they drive ILLEGALLY?
Make that part of the bill.
This may not be taken as ID for any US social services or any benefits whatsoever.
And if shown at a polling place its holder is denied the right to vote.
They never owned a car while in Mexico because the illegals who come to California are the bottom of Mexican society.