Law to Prohibit Immigrants From Obtaining Licenses

Tamara Forbes

Latino activists are stepping up the pressure for action fromGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger after he indicated low prioritytowards the granting of driver’s license law. The MexicanAmerican Political Association (MAPA) and other supporters namelyCentro Azteca and the Council of Mexican Federations have beencampaigning to enforce the importance of the bill being passed.

“It’s not a campaign to criticizethe governor but to educate the legislators and make sure that theyunderstand that it will not go away until the proposal becomes alaw,” commented Nativo Lopez, president of MAPA.

Schwarzenegger pledged during the recallcampaign that he would repeal the law, which would have takeneffect January 1st. The law would have benefited an estimated 2million undocumented immigrants. Applicants would have been allowedto apply for licenses with taxpayer identification numbers insteadof Social Security numbers. The law was vetoed by former governorGray Davis, but his signature last September led to charges that hewas trying to coerce the support of Hispanic voters.

Schwarzenegger once in office, was expected tosign the bill. It was however, repealed on the basis thatbackground checks had to be done on the license applications.Margita Thompson, Press Secretary in the governor’s officetold Weekly Report that at this point they are focusing on theright practical application to getting the right background checks.On the other hand supporters of the bill, such as Lopez indicatedtheir concerns to make sure that the governor fulfills hiscommitment.

“We know he has other issues importantto him but we want to make sure that this remains priority,”Lopez says.Lopez told weekly Report that on May 26, the bill willbe reviewed by the Senate and Assembly committees before it goes toa floor of votes from both houses.