Fear of the People

|

California's new governor is quickly doing much of what he'd said he'd do. Yesterday, he pushed through an embarrassing reversal of the unpopular drivers-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants law, which Gray Davis had embraced as part of his desperate pre-election pander to the Left.

In voting for the repeal less than three months after approving the bill, lawmakers acknowledged the changed political climate. While the bill was debated in September for 80 minutes before passing 23-15, Monday's debate lasted just 10 minutes, and the repeal was approved 33-0.

Part of that changed climate was Schwarzenegger's threat to put the issue up for referendum on the March ballot. Seems Democratic legislators fear the combination of unpopular legislation and Arnold's willingness to use the referendum process.

NEXT: State Supervision

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It’s odd that Davis thought he could get away with such pandering. It’s likely this highly unpopular law was the last nail in his coffin. Still, Democrats would all secretly vote for it since they hope it would increase Democrat votes.

  2. Considering the lack of public transportation I wonder how ‘illegal aliens’ will get to peoples houses to clean them, construction projects and other work that no one else will do at a fair market price — ohh — thats right they’ll drive…too bad on this one…

  3. Illegals are going to drive in any case. With or without a license. Consequently I doubt granting licenses would in any way improve public safety–those that fail to obtain a license would still drive anyway . . .

  4. Like my fellow anon poster (November 25, 2003 02:25 PM) I never understood how this was pandering to the left. Isn’t it the reptile party who need their hired help showing up on time to float daisies in the toilet water and whatever else they do?

  5. Yes Anon @03:17, only Republicans are assholes. Makes things easy, don’t it?

  6. “…work that no one else will do at a fair market price…

    The fact that no one else will do it seems on its face to suggest it’s not a fair market price, no?

  7. If I had posted some of the insipid drivel that ANON 3:17 did, I wouldn’t sign my name either.

  8. Since when was this about being able to drive. The license issue was about whether or not illegal aliens should be provided with the single most used piece of government issued official identification. Effectively, a valid drivers license would provide an illegal with a basis upon which to make the claim that they are actually in the country legally (even though the license doesn’t actually convey legal residency.) All these driving arguments are just red herrings from the left.

  9. On NPR this morning, an illegal immigrant women said she wanted a driver’s license so if she was in an auto accident, people could identify her. So she is already driving.

    It would also allow (somehow) illegal immigrants to open banks accounts because right now they apparently have to carry lots of cash and risk robbery.

    I don’t understand why the Left wants this. The illegal immigrants can’t vote, but that’s probably coming soon. “If these people are in our great state and using resources, should they have a say in our great state’s politics?”

  10. Giving drivers licenses to illegals facilitates their violations of the immigration law by making it much harder to identify them as illegals, and by making it much easier for them to live in this country.

    Under no circumstances should any government agency facilitate breaking the law.

    Thus, government agencies should not be issuing drivers licenses to illegal aliens.

    Why is that so hard to understand?

  11. “The illegal immigrants can’t vote, . . .”

    Neither can dead people. And, for that matter, dead men can’t run for office, either.

  12. Don, what you’re getting at escapes me.

    Anyway, Davis could have passed a law (which would have still been unpopular, by the way) giving special licenses to illegals that clearly note their status, but this law gave them regular drivers’ licenses.

  13. Sure they can, Don. Ever been to Chicago? (I mean voting, not running for office – though that’s coming).

    As far as illegal immigrants, I’d bet you can get registered to vote in most states starting out with just the driver’s license.

  14. SB 60 was never about public safety, makign sure drivers are licensed, or anything else except facilitating illegal immigration and voter fraud. If it were about driving, it would not apply to state IDs, which don’t “license” the holder to do anything. Besides, the U.S. is already bound by treaty to recognize driver licenses from Mexico and just about every other illegal alien’s country of origin.

  15. Dead men certainly CAN run for office — and win!

    Just ask John Aschroft, who lost his U.S. Senate seat to the very dead Mel Carnahan in 2000.

  16. I still don’t understand libertarians who believe there is such a thing as “illegal immigration”. I’m not saying yes to wide-open borders here; sure, have everyone fill out a form and stand in line and be crossreferenced to gov’t databases; subject to criminal/terrorism investigations or background checks; or medical quarantine or what have you, and additively select individuals to a non-grata list that meet statutory criteria. But starting out from the assumption that all non-Americans are flat-out not welcome? That’s backwards.

    I just don’t get it from a libertarian POV.

  17. Jim Antley, LOL. I was thinking the same thing about the Chicago political machine.

  18. Keith: Immigration, I think, is a separate but related issue. I agree with RC, that issuing a state document to somebody who must be breaking the law to apply, makes the government an accesory to a crime. If we want to allow the free movement of people, then changing the immigration law is preferable to the half-step of pretending the law doesn’t apply.

    In an extreme libertarian universe, there’s no public property, so all an immigrant needs is the owner’s permission to enter.

  19. I still don’t understand libertarians who believe there is such a thing as “illegal immigration”.

    It’s pretty simple, really. They are here in violation of applicable law. Therefore, they are illegal immigrants. No sneer quotes needed.

  20. I’ve volunteered at the polls in a neighborhood that has a significant number of immigrant families. It’s quite possible that some of the residents are here illegally.

    Given how low the turnout has been in the precinct, I somehow doubt there’s a steady stream of votes crossing the border. For that matter, I don’t even see evidence that there’s a steady supply of legal voters either.

    Point worth noting: By law we’re required to have ballots available in Spanish. (Post complaints below.) I’m not a fan of it, but when I work at the polls I do what the law says, not what my own preferences are (post complaints below). Anyway, after 2 elections and several hundred voters I can count on one hand the number of Spanish ballots we issued. And one of my fellow poll workers even went out of her way to offer Spanish ballots to people with hispanic names and/or appearances, but most people said “no thank-you” with no trace of an accent.

    Either they’re real citizens who prefer to vote in English, or else the illegals are all fluent in English and savvy enough to not give themselves away with accents and Spanish ballots.

    My hunch: Most of the illegals are busy working and have no time to learn to speak flawless English. And pro-life Catholics who live by the attitude “I don’t care what the politicians say, I’m getting a job!” probably aren’t in any big hurry to get to the polls and vote for Democrats.

    I know, somebody above mentioned his anecdote of a non-citizen registered to vote. But I doubt his friend is a typical case.

  21. thoreau,

    My mother-in-law is a pro-life Catholic who immigrated from Ecuador a little less than 40 years ago. She is a hard worker, and she became an American citizen.

    And she thinks Democrats are the saviors of the common man, and Republicans are evil.

    More than that: she thinks that it is Republicans who pushed bilingual education in order to keep Hispanics in their place; and she thinks that Bill Clinton was responsible for Three Strikes legislation (California legislation, signed by Republican Pete Wilson)! And she considers herself well informed, what with watching all those weekend political shows on PBS and whatnot . . .

  22. Does she think 3 strikes was a good thing or a bad thing?

  23. She thinks 3 strikes was a good thing. At least that’s the impression I got. But that’s probably because she thinks it’s something Clinton came up with . . . if she understood that a Republican–particularly Pete Wilson–came up with it, she would probably think it was a sneaky attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise Hispanics.

  24. A non-citizen I know is registered to vote (has been for several years).
    How? They applied only for a learner’s permit, didn’t even know they were put on the voting rolls, just completed paperwork.
    How do you get all of these non-citizens off the voting rolls once they are on without being accused of being “racist”?
    How would you, efficiently, determine which new “motor voters” are not citizens?
    As you can imagine, this is a perfect situation for “mischief”. And which party would benefit more from the votes of (mostly) poor non-citizens?
    I have told the authorities and local papers about this in Boston several times…..no one cares.
    Vote fraud anyone?
    Maybe there is a public safety case for letting illegal aliens get a license. But shouldn’t the “motor voter” program be disconnected or substantially shored up to insure some votiong integrity is maintained first?

  25. “I don’t understand why the Left wants this.” Think of what you use your drivers’ license for; id for cashing a check, buying beer, getting a lease, etc. If you don’t have ID, you have to cash your check somewhere that rips you off, go way out somewhere to buy beer from someone that runs a shady operation, live only in the cardboard slums built by people who live by taking advantage of immigrants, etc. Why would the Left want this? Gee, I dunno, maybe because we don’t like seeing people getting fucked over?

  26. Keith wrote:

    I still don’t understand libertarians who believe there is such a thing as “illegal immigration”.

    Because there are quite a few of us who support a minimalist government which is empowered to carry out a few specific functions. One of them (at the federal level) is protecting the nation from invasion which necessitates the ability to control the borders. Which means regulating who may and may not cross over into the country.

    I’m not saying yes to wide-open borders here; sure, have everyone fill out a form and stand in line and be cross referenced to gov’t databases; subject to criminal/terrorism investigations or background checks; or medical quarantine or what have you, and additively select individuals to a non-grata list that meet statutory criteria.

    I think it?s a little more involved then that, but since you agree that an open border policy would be a bad idea (as do most sane and serious people), what would you suggest is the best way to keep criminals, terrorists, and persons with deadly infectious diseases from entering the nation and probably harming others?

    But starting out from the assumption that all non-Americans are flat-out not welcome? That’s backwards.

    It?s also not necessarily the assumption behind coming up with a pretty clear list of what sort of persons (criminals, terrorists, etc.) are not welcome and trying to weed them out from who we do allow to enter the country.

  27. Yeah, Joe, a lot of leftwing people were realllly concerned about fucking people over. I guess aiding and abeding the Soviet Union doesn’t count, cause Joe (hey, same name!) Stalin didn’t really fuck people over when he had 20 million or so “purged”. I personally think they’d rather have been “fucked over” by Joe himself (Stalin, that is) than starve and freeze in Siberia.

    Then there’s the US, where all the leftwing BS regulation have “fucked over” the small business owner to where it’s no fun to run your own business anymore, as half your time is spend doing government paperwork and worrying about getting more in the mail.

    Then there’s the gun owners who want to defend their families, but can’t cause their guns are banned or they are locked up per law. I think getting murdered by a burglar should count as being “fucked over”, Joe, but I guess we think differently.

    Then, there’s young people who may have a new term for it, but I would call if “fucked over” when they have to put large chunks of money into FICA every paycheck, and will get nothing back. (OK, the current Repubs. are a part of this too, but I would not call them right-wing anymore).

    I would feel pretty fucked over myself it I ended up living in Mexico through no intention of mine. Well, I don’t have to go there, you say? That’s right, cause it’s coming here. I do notice that I cannot just get into Mexico without permission and start a life there. Even legal immigrants to Mexico cannot trust that the government there won’t appropriate their property at any time (much worse than what our government does)

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you’re an idiot, Joe!

  28. Thorley,

    I see it as the difference between, “You are not welcome in the US solely because you live in a poor adjacent country” and “You are welcome in the US unless the government has knowlege of something specific about your person that warrants your exclusion”.

  29. Immigration is one of the things which made this country great.

    Restricting or preventing immigration is not a Conservative ideal, nor is it a Libertarian ideal.

    It is a statist ideal. It is also a Union Labor ideal.

    Statists believe that people belong to the State — and should not be allowed the choice of where to live. They should live where the State wants them to live.

    Union Labor believes that they should not have to compete in an open economy with people who are more willing to work for a living.

    I understand the Democratic party abandoning their traditional Statist and Unionist supporters to pander to the large ethnic vote in California.

    How the Republicans got messed up with this bunch of crooks is beyond me.

    To be brutally and unpleasantly honest, it smells like racism.

  30. what the new “governer” of California has done is just plain wrong. He should give immigrants the DL’s because this will make the streets a lot safer!! Just think, if an immigrant is in a car accident they won’t be afraid anymore to face the authorites because they will have something to identify themselves. I think that less “Hit and Run” cases will occur if the DL’s are issued to immigrants.

    I mean i’m not saying that they should be givin to all immigrants! There has to be some reguirements to obtain a drivers license right? For example they have to have been in the U.S for at least 5 years without any criminal background. Also in that 5 year period they had to have done there income taxes every year. In order to obtain a DL, all these requirements have to be completed!

  31. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    IP: 82.146.43.155
    URL: http://www.car-financing-low-rates.biz
    DATE: 02/27/2004 04:57:47
    In this grand B movie we call life, there is always a girl.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.