Schwarzenegger rejects bill to allow licenses for illegal immigrants

| 10/5/2006

For the second time in as many years, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill to allow illegal immigrants in California to obtain licenses that could be used only for driving.

The governor made no secret of his intent to kill the bill. He said the effort is premature because the state is waiting for federal regulations on state identification cards designed to combat terrorism.

Schwarzenegger said his office is working with federal officials to develop the federal guidelines for the REAL ID Act passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, said his bill complied with federal law. However, he said it goes beyond what federal law requires, The Associated Press reported.

The bill – SB1162 – called for 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.

This was Cedillo’s seventh attempt to legalize driving for illegal immigrants. Former 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 One was signed only to be repealed, another was denied a key hearing and two more were rejected by Schwarzenegger before his recent action.

Cedillo vowed to push the legislation again next year.

He said allowing illegal immigrants to receive proper driver’s training, testing and insurance would make roadways safer because an estimated 2 million people in the state could qualify for licenses under the legislation, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Schwarzenegger also vetoed a bill – AB2496 – that would have required new toilets sold in the state to reduce water usage.