a surprising reversal, Democrats in the California Senate have
put the brakes on a bill that would allow some undocumented immigrants
to obtain driver’s licenses, The Los Angeles Times reported
bill, SB60, written by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, passed
the Assembly Appropriations Committee Aug. 20 by a vote of 16-7.
current California law, a person who wants to obtain a driver’s
license must present a valid social security number. People who
immigrated into the United States illegally do not have valid
numbers, and therefore cannot get a license. SB60 is designed
to change that. The bill has been modified or amended numerous
times, but under the current text, people who are not eligible
for social security numbers can submit other documents deemed
acceptable to the state to get a driver’s license. Those documents
could include a federal taxpayer identification number or a birth
certificate from a foreign government.
bill has been the subject of numerous amendments, which The
Times said spurred concerns on the part of Senate Democrats,
even though one of their number originated the measure and it
has support from embattled Gov. Gray Davis. Senate members said
they wanted to review all the amendments before the bill moved
SB60 has picked up several opponents and criticisms. Among them, The Times reported, are the California State Sheriffs'
Association, which said opposed the use of federal tax numbers
to verify illegal immigrants’ identities. In addition, the federal
IRS opposed the use of the numbers, saying they are "not
valid for identification outside the tax system."
bill’s proposed benefits for undocumented workers would not extend
to commercial driver’s licenses. Earlier this month, David Galaviz,
a spokesman for Sen. Cedillo, told Land Line that plans
were under way to amend the bill to prevent that from happening.
we’re going to do is draft language that would not allow [those
covered under the bill] to apply for a commercial driver’s license,
so we would only cover the regular class C driver’s license,”
provision apparently has been added. The current version of the
bill would still require CDL applicants to present a valid social
security number, preventing undocumented workers from applying