California Caves to Illegals
California is changing its laws in order to be "fair and compassionate" toward illegal immigrants living in the state. Governor Jerry Brown signed the "California Dream Act," which allows illegal immigrants access to state aid at public universities and colleges. In addition, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D) along with Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck are calling for illegal immigrants to be given California driver's licenses and to not have their vehicles impounded for thirty days if stopped for a traffic violation. There is also a new California law stating that employers do not have to use E-Verify for state, city, and county contracts.
American Thinker interviewed some California officials to get their opinion on these law changes.
Starting on April 22, Los Angeles police will no longer impound someone's vehicle for thirty days, whether it belongs to a legal California resident or an undocumented person, if the person was caught driving without a license. This new directive will still require cars to be impounded, and the unlicensed driver will still get a citation; however, such drivers will be able to collect their cars if there was not a prior impounding offense, the car was not impounded because of a traffic accident, the car is registered and insured, a fine is paid, and they come with a licensed driver.
An LAPD spokesman told American Thinker that this change still follows the vehicle code, since it stated "up to" thirty days, and it allows for more clarity and consistency. Previously the police officer determined how long a car should be impounded, some allowing it to be collected after one day and some requiring the thirty-day hold.
The Los Angeles city attorney feels that this change is in agreement with state law, and the California attorney general has a decision still pending. However, the Los Angeles County district attorney stated in a letter to Chief Beck, "In our view, such policies are contrary to state law and likely would create risks both to public safety and to public treasuries." The Office of Legislative Counsel and the Los Angeles Police Protective League agree with the DA. They claim that these changes will allow unlicensed drivers, many of whom are "unsafe drivers," to have a vehicle returned to them to continue driving.
Everyone supporting this change seems to overlook the fact that an unlicensed driver is willing to ignore the law and in essence is now being rewarded. The Legislative Counsel also cited the fact that unlicensed drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents. A 2011 AAA study, "Unlicensed to Kill," found that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and more likely to flee the scene of a crime.
Chief Beck also cites the safety issue as a reason to give illegal immigrants a "provincial or conditional" driver's license that would not be used for ID purposes. The LAPD spokesman explained that undocumented individuals are driving anyway, so this would make them safer drivers, since "these unlicensed drivers most probably never took a vision test, have not proved they know the road rules/signs or how to operate a vehicle, and have never taken a driver's test. Think about it. This conditional permit will have a picture and a finger print on it so it might be easier to find them and deter them from running from a hit-and-run."
Advocates such as California Assemblyman Cedillo consider Beck's proposal a first step. He wants anyone residing in this state to be able to get a driver's license, whether here illegally or legally. He stated on the Assembly floor that "the undocumented people that I represent, that's who I speak for." His peer, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R), noted, "This would be a terrorist's dream, having a presumed legal identification that cannot be verified. It will weaken the integrity of our ID. Neither Beck's or Cedillo's proposal takes into consideration that there is no viable way of having the person prove who they say they are. The undocumented people are allowed to break our laws and in return they get special treatments and rights."
In addition, Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) points out that Cedillo's bill would violate the Federal Real ID Act, since "California would be issuing licenses with no documentation to back it up. All the work done in trying to address the problem with 9/11 terrorists is now being thrown out because of the pandering and accommodation to illegals in this country, who have already violated the law. If there is a provincial license, those throughout the U.S. will now have to learn how to identify a legal driver's license from an illegal one. Where does it stop? Will Californians have to carry a passport for identification? What about voter fraud, since they will have an ID -- will someone register them to vote? We are rewarding people who are breaking our laws, including the California Dream Act."
The E-Verify Mandate Repeal Bill prohibits the city, county, and state government from requiring employers to use E-Verify. The author of the bill, Assemblyman Paul Fong (D), was quoted thus: "This bill will protect California's workers and businesses." However, Assemblyman Donnelly feels it is protecting only those who have broken the laws, since E-Verify requires employers to electronically substantiate U.S. citizenship of those applying for jobs. "This bill hurts the three million Californians who are out of work. Governor Brown and the Democrats are flipping legal California residents the bird. There is this special lobbying group that has created special rights."
Congressman Bilbray sees Fong's bill as a violation of federal law and is wondering where the Obama administration is, since "they always point the finger at Arizona. Even President Obama has expanded the E-Verify program. Why would those in Sacramento oppose allowing cities and counties to do exactly what President Obama is doing with the federal government?" He explained that Congress is going to make sure that every bill going through will require that anyone who gets a federal grant, federal contract, or federal money, including the State of California, will need to use the E-Verify system.
It appears that in California, those who are here illegally get the privileges. Rules and laws that legal residents had to abide by have been changed to accommodate those here illegally. What was once fair and equitable for legal California residents is now not acceptable for illegal immigrants. Bilbray said it best: "We are turning logic and fairness on its head. We are telling people not to come here illegally; yet, at the same time, we change the rules by giving special rights that make it easier for them."