September 8, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Legal Illegals

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em—or let them join you. That's the message that de facto lame duck governor Gray Davis and his Democrat cronies in the California state legislature have sent to the residents of California and the rest of the nation. Last Friday, Davis signed AB 60 into law, giving illegal immigrants the right to obtain a California driver's license. Seen by many as a thinly veiled attempt to grab the Latino vote in next month's recall election, it seems to me more like political suicide. As if voters needed yet another reason to give the governor the boot, now he has legitimized the thousands of illegal aliens already overrunning the state. Someone from another country can now cross into the state illegally, obtain a driver's license legally, and use the ID to buy a gun or explosives or apply for a job in a secure area, such as at a nuclear power plant. The only documentation that an illegal immigrant needs to get a driver's license in California after January 1 of next year is a taxpayer ID number (easily obtainable from the IRS) and one of several other documents, such as a birth certificate, foreign driver's license, foreign passport or a matricula consular ID card (issued by the Mexican consulate to any Mexican national, whether here legally or illegally). Proof of legal residence will not be necessary to obtain a driver's license.

Proponents of this new law rationalized its necessity by claiming it would make California's roads safer. Thousands of illegal immigrants drive without a license or insurance every day, so giving them a driver's license will enable them to get driver's training and purchase insurance. This is the same logic which argues for giving free needles to heroin addicts and condoms to children. They're already doing it, so we might as well make it safer for them. But when did we stop taking a stand for what's right? If we've given up entirely, then I suppose it makes sense to make wrongdoing as safe as possible for those doing wrong, in order to protect the rest of us. But I don't think most Californians have given up yet, so Davis and the California legislature—who are supposed to represent the residents of this state—should have enacted legislation to stem the heavy flow of illegal immigration, rather than create laws to facilitate it. What's next? Gun permits for criminals who own illegal handguns?

In a post-9/11 world, the passage of this new law takes on an even grimmer tone. After January 1 of next year, it will be easier than ever for a terrorist to obtain a valid California ID. Showing your ID when you board a plane will be a meaningless gesture. California driver's licenses will be no more secure as a form of identification than a Star Trek fan club membership card. Security in our increasingly insecure world will either be compromised, or passports will be necessary to travel domestically as well as internationally. Either way, SB 60 makes little sense. As Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) commented, "The bottom line is, the only people that need this are people that have no legal right to be here to begin with."

For me, this new law further illustrates how completely out of touch politicians are with their constituents (not to mention reality). These days, legislation is made more often for political gain or personal agendas than for the good of the people who elected legislators. I haven't made up my mind who should replace Davis in the state capitol, but California needs a change like never before.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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September Columns:

9/29: Open Season
9/28: Runaway Train
9/27: The Seven
9/25: Dreamscape
9/24: Survivor: Sacramento
9/23: What Am I Doing at Work?
9/21: San Diego Chokers
9/20: Farewell, Galileo
9/17: Anything Can Happen
9/16: Midnight Writing
9/15: Decline and Fall
9/14: Loyalty By Default
9/13: Debt Snowball
9/12: My Cup Runneth Over
9/11: Unforgettable Day
9/10: Fall Approaches
9/9: Total Recall
9/8: Legal Illegals
9/7: 116 More Days
Previous months in The Archive

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