Now, Cedillo returns to the scene of the crime. Somehow, he and his pals in Sacramento don't share the voters' outrage that lawmakers would pass a law to reward lawbreakers. Once again, Cedillo is going out of his way to thumb his nose at the law. His new bill would prohibit illegal immigrants convicted of a crime from receiving a driver's license -- unless they were convicted of driving without a license. Then it's OK.
When Team Arnold floated the idea of marking illegal immigrants' driver's licenses to show they are not legal residents, Cedillo complained to reporters that the very notion "invites discrimination." Actually, immigration law demands discrimination -- it prohibits employers from hiring illegal immigrants.
Cedillo compared such a mark to the yellow star Jews had to wear in Nazi Germany. He can play the race card, but it won't work. A Los Angeles Times poll found that 38 percent of Latino voters strongly opposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Schwarzenegger's staff doesn't come right out and say it, but it's pretty clear that he'll have no problem rejecting Cedillo's latest piece of work on security grounds. "It's important to make sure that you have confidence in the document that is being provided by the host country," said spokeswoman Margita Thompson. Some countries have a reputation -- she wouldn't say which -- for handing out IDs without verifying the information. That's not security.
Cedillo's office did not answer my requests for an interview before my deadline, but when we talked last year, Cedillo claimed that the motive behind his measure was to "restore highway safety." Methinks if that were his true goal, Cedillo would have increased penalties for those who drive without a license or without insurance. Instead, he is poised to wink at the practice.
There is muted talk that some members of the Latino Caucus might withhold their votes to pass the state budget unless Schwarzenegger agrees to sign Cedillo's new bill. I hope they try. Voters recalled Davis because they believed he put special interests before the greater good.
If there are lawmakers who want to test that interpretation, so be it.
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