Wednesday, March 5, 2014

California Driver’s License Program Hits an Unexpected Hurdle

Last year, when California became the most populous state to pass a law permitting undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses, advocates for immigrant rights were thrilled, saying it would allow people to commute without fear while also decreasing rates of hit-and-run accidents and uninsured drivers on the roads. Now those advocates are confronting another formidable obstacle: the deep and longstanding mistrust of the American government among this population.

It turns out that persuading immigrants who have spent decades avoiding the authorities to willingly hand over their names, addresses and photographs to the government is no easy sell — particularly since the licenses will look different from regular ones, in ways that have yet to be determined.

“I believe this license process is not secure,” one woman, who declined to identify herself, told state officials at an informational hearing here hosted by the Department of Motor Vehicles. “Is this a trap?”

“It’s not a trap,” said Ricardo Lara, the state senator who represents this working-class city, where more than 40 percent of the population is foreign born. State law guaranteed that their information would not be shared with other government agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said, adding, “Your information is protected.”

COMMENTS:

SEB Bay Area, CA 56 minutes ago
What this really shows is how out of touch and idealistic Congress and conservtaives have become. If it was not for the impractical blocking of "path to citizenship" policy and clinging to a futile policy of hit-and-miss mass deportation motivated by idealistic conceptions of fairness, this problem would be much easier to tackle. States like CA and NV have to pragmatically deal with the problem of numerous unlicensed, uninusured and untested drivers on the road. Debating whether it's fair to provide services and driving priveleges to people who allegedly "cut in line" and pursuing futile policies because "it's the right thing to do," doesn't make our roads safer (nor will it reduce waiting times in ERs to touch on another related issue). Best for Congress and the supposedly true blue conservatives blocking immigration reform to embraced that most American of philosophies: pragmatism. 12 million people are here, wrong or not, and need to be incorporated into the formal ecnomy/society - otherwise we all pay for the luxury of idealism.

Ordinary American USA 36 minutes ago
The real idealism is the belief that handing our citizenship to millions of unskilled foreigners will be a good thing for most Americans. We had an amnesty in 1986. The net result was stagnant wages and rising income inequality. We don't need another one. We need to tell our neighbors to the south that the responsibility for their least able citizens lies with them not us.

Karla Mooresville,NC 3 hours ago
What is starting to make me even angrier than I already am about the dismal situation our country is in right now, is that the focus of so many of the elected is how they can aid and assist illegal immigrants. They refuse to take any kind of significant action to address unemployment, the basic needs of the poor, our horrendous educational system, the list goes depressingly on and on. But, every other day you read about how some state, federal, whatever is fighting for the rights of people that entered the United States illegally. And I am tired of it. As a lifelong liberal, I am very tired of it. Who the heck represents American citizens anymore? Democrats, Republicans, no one seems to give a fig about helping stop the downfall of our country and the future of our children and grandchildren. If this isn't a perfect example of what's wrong with politics and politicians, I don't know what is.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/us/california-drivers-license-program-hits-an-unexpected-snag.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0

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