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Assembly members give drivers license bill a lift

By George Hostetter
The Fresno Bee

(Published November 2, 1999)

It is time to once again permit all California motorists, regardless of their immigration status, to legally acquire a drivers license. Everyone's safety depends on it.

That was the message delivered by Assembly members Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno) and Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) as they drummed up support for Cedillo's stalled bill on driver license requirements Monday evening in a public meeting at Fresno's Ted C. Wills Community Center.

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This is scam legislation as both Cedillo and Solis want illegal aliens to have this document which will force you to fund even more of their welfare, medical, housing, etc., enable them to take even more of the jobs which belong to American citizens, defraud legitimate businesspeople, etc..

Current state law requires driver license applicants to have a Social Security number and show proof they're legal California residents. The laws were passed in the early 1990s at a time, Reyes and Cedillo say, when "anti-immigrant hysteria" was sweeping a state plagued by economic recession.

But for 65 years before the changes, Reyes and Cedillo said, the state permitted people to apply for a drivers license without these requirements. Cedillo's bill, AB 1463, would turn the clock back to those days.

It's all a matter of public safety and common sense, Cedillo said. Under the current laws, many immigrants go ahead and drive without a license because they don't have a Social Security number or can't provide proof of their legal status in the United States.

The result: These drivers often don't know the rules of the road, posing a potential danger to themselves and others.

There is an economic cost, too, Cedillo said. Without a drivers license, an immigrant can't buy car insurance.

"This is so simple," Cedillo said. "The public's safety is the primary concern we should have."

Cedillo said a drivers license will ensure that immigrants, regardless of their legal status, know the laws and customs of California's roads. He said the license has nothing to do with the citizenship process or applying for government benefits.

Reyes said she voted for Cedillo's bill because it will make roads safer and save money by producing better educated drivers who have fewer accidents.