California’s 2 million illegal immigrants will be able to obtain driver’s licenses under a bill to be signed by Gov. Gray Davis. The Los Angeles Times reports that advocates saw the law “will make the roads safer and end an era of anti-immigration sentiment. Opponents counter that the state will be setting out a welcome mat for terrorists as well as undocumented workers.”
The law removes a 1994 requirement that people must provide a Social Security number to be licensed.
Reactions were predictably mixed. “This really puts an end to a whole period of anti-immigration fervor in California history,” said Maria Blanco of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “There’s a widespread recognition that undocumented immigrants are here. And for the first time, there’s a positive movement to incorporate them into society.”
A Republican state senator said the bill increases the risk of a terrorist attack and that it was being signed “for a crass political purpose – to save a failed governor.” Republican Sen. Tom McClintock, a candidate for governor in the recall election, said, “This bill has one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to undermine the enforcement of our immigration laws.”