It hasn't been since 1993, almost 20 years ago, that illegal immigrants have been able to obtain drivers licenses in California.
While critics of the undocumented have said that's a good thing, immigrants' rights groups have argued that the de facto outlaw status of these drivers have led to mass seizures of their cars, a rash of hit-and-run accidents and other roadside maladies for the people of California.
Last night Gov. Jerry Brown took a step toward giving the undocumented driving privileges:
He signed a bill by L.A. Assemblyman Gil Cedillo that will allow those illegals granted federal amnesty because they were brought here as young children the right to apply for a California license.
According to a statement sent out by Cedillo's office last night:
The bill states that any document received by a person granted deferred action will be accepted as proof of legal presence for the purpose of applying for a California Drivers' License.
The amnesty approved by the Obama administration allows illegals who grew up here to work and study without fear of deportation for two years and possibly longer if they're approved under the “Deferred Action” program.
It was at first unclear if those approved under the program would be able to get California drivers licences. Cedillo, who's been working on getting licenses for illegals for the last 15 years, made sure that was the case.
This is important first step to making sure our highways are safe for all Californians. I am proud that the governor chose public safety over politics. I look forward to continuing to work with his office to make sure that all motorists in this state are licensed, tested and insured and that California will once again enjoy the safest highways in America that they deserve.
This will no doubt anger some folks in Southern California who say illegal is illegal. But whether they like it or not much of the work that gets done here — from hotel beds being turned to lettuce being picked — is done by undocumenteds.
Wouldn't you rather know that they can drive according to our rules of the road? Or would you rather continue to imagine that they don't exist?
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.