Amid the backdrop of the gubernatorial recall election, the California Assembly passed a
controversial measure that will make as many as 2 million illegal aliens legal behind the
Following two hours of rancorous debate in both English and Spanish, lawmakers
approved the bill by a 44-30 vote and sent it back to the Senate for consideration of
amendments. The Senate is expected to agree to the amendments and give final
approval as early as today.
Although he vetoed similar legislation twice before, embattled Gov. Gray Davis has
promised to sign the measure if it reached his desk. Aides to the governor told KTXL his earlier concerns over law enforcement had been addressed.
“The governor is glad it’s going to happen,” spokesman Russ Lopez told the San
Jose Mercury News. “This is a huge population that contributes so much and they pay
taxes and they already drive.”
Republicans accused Davis and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante – the leading Democratic
challenger on the recall ballot – of flip-flopping on the issue to curry favor with Hispanics
ahead of the Oct. 7 vote.
“Why is he willing to put the state at risk, the country at risk, the electorate at risk? It’s his last grasp at keeping the governorship,” KTXL quoted Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy as saying. The Republican claimed the bill would “open the road” to a movement to reclaim parts of the southwestern United States for Mexico.
Others expressed concern over voter fraud.
“Why don’t we just rescind the need for citizenship? That’s where we are going with this,” echoed Assemblyman Doug La Malfa of Biggs.
The Mercury News reports that among Republican gubernatorial candidates Arnold
Schwarzenegger and state Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks both oppose the
driver’s license legislation, while Peter Ueberroth favors it.
The bill, SB 60, will allow undocumented immigrants to use federal taxpayer
identification numbers instead of Social Security numbers to apply for driver’s licenses,
even though the Internal Revenue Service has said that taxpayer numbers are “not valid
for identification outside the tax system.”
Two other forms of identity are required of applicants, but these can include birth
certificates and IDs issued by foreign governments. Mexican consulates issue matricula
consular cards that are most often used by illegals to open bank accounts.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles, claims it will make
the state’s roads safer since illegals who routinely drive without a license will now be
required to receive proper training, testing and car insurance.
One case in point: Concepcion Lopez of San Jose told the Mercury News she takes a
risk every time she drives without a license to her part-time job and to adult-education
“It’s unjust that we can’t drive. Most of us are honest people who have to work to raise
our kids,” the paper quotes Lopez as saying in Spanish. “I’m nervous every day.”
Lopez was among the dozens of immigrants on hand for the debate who applauded
the passage of the bill from the balcony of the Assembly.
Other supporters of the measure argue the licensing of illegal aliens would help law
enforcement keep track of drivers in criminal cases because their photos, thumbprints
and addresses would be recorded and added to a database.
lawmakers on the federal level are debating the wisdom of foreign embassies issuing
identification cards to illegal aliens in the U.S. Critics of the cards see many pitfalls,
including national-security risks.
“I don’t see any issue that is potentially as dangerous to our sovereignty and provides
tremendous opportunity for terrorism in this country than this form of documentation,”
said Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., at a recent congressional hearing.
Truckful of illegal aliens. Some cities are becoming refuges for
illegal border crossers.
immigration-reform advocates blame states and local governments, “under pressure
from foreign governments, some employers, and open-borders activists,” for weakening
homeland security by adopting and practicing policies that provide “safe haven” for illegal
Reform says policies such as granting illegal immigrants driver’s licenses are at
conflict with border-security measures.
“While the federal government has not yet slammed shut the doors to illegal
immigration,” says Dan Stein, executive director of FAIR, “it is the states and local
governments that are rolling out the welcome mat for illegal aliens once they are here.”