Mexifornia: One-Bill Gil Is Ba-a-a-a-ck for Illegal Alien Driver's Licenses

You had to know this was coming: Mexico City’s favorite California legislator, Gil Cedillo, the Energizer Bunny of obtaining goodies for his illegal alien ethnic brothers, has popped up with familiar legislation to permit illegal aliens to obtain state driver’s licenses, which are also legal identification.

Cedillo plopped his DL bill into the hopper last Friday, the last day to do so, and the ninth time (at least) for his beloved bill. Cedillo is termed out from the California legislature this year, so it’s his final attempt to win a privilege for his fellow tribe members that will endanger the public at large.

Cedillo has certainly noticed that the atmospherics have improved in recent months for illegal aliens being awarded benefits on the backs of California citizens. The DREAM Act was signed into law, giving taxpayer-funded financial aid to lawbreaking foreigners attending state universities. In Los Angeles, PD Chief Charlie Beck and Sheriff Lee Baca have both recommended that illegals get state driver’s licenses. Beck got caught up in a scheme from Mayor Villaraigosa to stop impounds of vehicles belonging to unlicensed (read illegal alien) drivers. But the negative public reaction against the idea convinced Beck and later Baca to drop the impound strategy and just give licenses to everyone.

Problem solved, unless one cares about public safety. Unlicensed drivers are involved in one in five fatal crashes according to a 2008 study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Beck and Baca have insisted that setting up a system of requiring aliens to be tested about the rules of the road and getting insurance would improve public safety. But what illegal aliens would sign up for an arrangement that would identify them as lawbreaking foreigners? They don’t want to fill out government forms and be put on the radar.

Which brings us to Cedillo. (For more on the license issue, you can listen to the John and Ken Show discussion on Monday.)

California assemblyman to try again on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, Sacramento Bee, Feb 27, 2012

After winning passage of a law allowing some undocumented immigrants to apply for college aid, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo’s new goal is driver’s licenses.

The Los Angeles Democrat will carry legislation this year that would allow undocumented immigrants to be licensed, tested and insured.

Similar Cedillo measures have passed the Democrat-controlled Legislature in years past but were vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Cedillo hopes to work with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on a bill that can pass muster.

The issue has been extremely controversial among lawmakers for much of the past 10 years, with opponents arguing that people who are in California illegally have no right to such privileges.

“You should not legitimize a fundamentally illegal act,” said Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber.

Former Gov. Gray Davis actually signed a Cedillo license bill in 2002, but it was repealed before it could take effect after Davis was recalled the following year. Arnold Schwarzenegger had made it an issue in the recall, and legislative Democrats agreed to the repeal after he won.

Latinos played a key role in helping elect Brown in 2010, and many of them cheered him last year for signing the Dream Act to expand college financial aid for undocumented immigrants who have lived in California for years.

On the campaign trail in 2010, Brown spoke against allowing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. At a gubernatorial debate in Fresno, he called the idea a “little piecemeal” that “sends the wrong signal.”

Cedillo opted not to push the issue in Brown’s inaugural year, but last week vowed to do so before he is termed out of the Assembly this year.

“We’ve played immigration politics with public safety and it’s failed us,” Cedillo said of restricting driver’s licenses to legal residents. “Our highways were once the safest in America — and now they’re not.”

Elizabeth Ashford, Brown’s spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether Brown could support driver’s license legislation. The governor typically does not comment on a bill until it reaches his desk, she said.

Many undocumented immigrants drive now, but without licenses, insurance or state testing to ensure competence. Bringing them out of the shadows will enhance road safety, Cedillo said.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck entered the fray earlier last week, telling the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that he supports granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Supporters say undocumented immigrants should be able to drive to work or take their children to school without fear of having their vehicles confiscated if they are stopped by police.

Critics contend that such legislation could make it easier for potential terrorists to obtain driver’s licenses. In years past, the issue has spawned fierce debate over what security measures should be required if current law is altered.

Nielsen said that granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants would send the wrong societal message. America welcomes immigrants but expects them to abide by its laws and enter the country legally, he said.

The veteran GOP lawmaker was not surprised by Cedillo’s renewed push, however.

“Bad ideas,” he said, “seem to die slowly in the Capitol.”

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