Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
Some illegal aliens may have found a way to ensure they will never lose their driver’s licenses for drunk driving in California – even if they can’t read.
Christian Rodier, office assistant at Special Treatment Education and Prevention Services, or STEPS, in Bakersfield, Calif., told WND he believes repeat drunk driving offenders who are illiterate and who fail to produce proof of citizenship are receiving preferential treatment when they take classes to dismiss DUIs.
“There are some clients who do not provide any Social Security numbers whatsoever,” he said. “When a client calls over the phone to have a schedule change, I have to ask him for his birth date and Social Security number. Sometimes there’s no Social Security number whatsoever. That’s a red flag to me.”
Though some students with drunk driving offenses do not provide proper documentation, he said the clinic allows them to take the course so they can have their driving privileges reinstated.
“I guess they just enroll them anyway because they’re afraid if they don’t enroll them, they’ll get sued,” he said.
Rodier said the STEPS program is not only for first-time offenders. Often times, people who have had two or three drunk-driving offenses register for the classes.
“There are some people who have gotten a DUI, taken a course, gotten their license and gotten a DUI and repeated the whole process over again,” he said.
While classes are offered in Spanish, many of the students arrested for drunk driving are classified as “illiterate” because they cannot read or write in English or Spanish.
“I think some are illiterate, and some are illegal and illiterate,” Rodier said. “It’s dangerous that illiterate people can get licenses. I’m not saying this as a racist thing because I am of Latin-American decent. This situation concerns me.”
Many STEPS clients have multiple drunk-driving offenses, and Hispanics are proportionally overrepresented among students at the treatment facility.
“I estimate about 85 percent of our DUI clients are Hispanic, even though I understand that here in Bakersfield, Calif., they are not the majority,” he said.
Rodier expressed concern that students who are unable to read are being passed through the system and allowed to hit the streets after having drunk-driving offenses erased.
“It doesn’t make any sense that illiterate people are allowed to drive because how will they read the signs?” he asked. “The counselor just passes them anyway. They get a break, that’s what happens. They get treated as special.”