National News

Coalition pushes for driver's licenses for undocumented

Thursday, August 16, 2012

There's new push to allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses in California. Supporters of the plan held a news conference in Boyle Heights Thursday.

The battle for driver's license for undocumented immigrants has gone on for at least a decade. Backers of a new bill hope to pressure Governor Jerry Brown and state lawmakers into approving the legislation.

Southern California Immigration Coalition, along with undocumented students and workers and their supporters, gathered for Thursday's news conference to call for passage of a bill sponsored by California Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles).

Cedillo's measure would allow driver's licenses for undocumented migrants and immigrants. He's expected to introduce the bill in the Legislature this week.

Immigrant rights groups say driver's-license checkpoints and 30-day impounds by L.A. authorities have unfairly targeted poor and undocumented people in the Hispanic community.

"The lack of licenses has created a criminalization of our people, of our community, and we say we've had enough," said David Zid, Southern California Immigration Coalition.

"Not just asking, but demanding, that Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature here in California, approve a driver's license for all people," said Ron Gochez, Southern California Immigration Coalition.

"We shouldn't be so complacent about this. We shouldn't be a society that actively protects lawbreakers. We should be a society that questions why we would protect lawbreakers. It's a bad idea," said Tony Katz, radio talk show host and Tea Party activist.

Coalition members argue that allowing driver's licenses for undocumented people who pass DMV tests will make the roads safer.

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