Illegal immigrants in California would be allowed to obtain
a license that could be used only for driving under a bill approved by a state
This is the seventh time Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, has offered the bill for consideration. He said allowing illegal immigrants to
receive proper driver’s training, testing and insurance would make roadways
Cedillo said there are an estimated 2 million people in the
state who could qualify for licenses under the bill, The Orange County
The Assembly Transportation Committee voted 7-4 to advance
the Senate-approved bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further
consideration. If approved there, the bill – SB1160 – would head to Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s desk where an identical bill was vetoed in October 2005.
The vetoed bill called for creating special driver’s
licenses for undocumented immigrants that look different than licenses for U.S. citizens and legal aliens. The version for illegal immigrants would not be valid for
identification or purposes other than driving.
In his veto message, the Republican governor said the effort “is premature and could undermine national security efforts to identify
individuals who pose enormous risk to the safety of Californians.”
Schwarzenegger has remained committed to rejecting any
driver’s license legislation sent to him before the federal government issues
new guidelines intended to prevent terrorists from gaining access to
The governor said “… once the federal rule making is
finalized, it would be appropriate to engage in discussions relating to
implementation of the act, including whether or not a driving only certificate
is appropriate” in the state.
Since 1999, Cedillo has made six attempts to let illegal
immigrants obtain licenses. Then-Gov. Gray Davis vetoed two efforts. One was
signed only to be repealed, another was denied a key hearing and two more were
rejected by Schwarzenegger.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor