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Aside from Keith Olbermann‘s ridiculous anointing of Geraldo Rivera as “The Best Person in the World” (as opposed to his regular segment, “The Worst Person in the World” where in Bill O’Reilly regularly manages that honor) for his “noble” defense of illegal-alien Alfredo Ramos of Virginia Beach due to his successful extermination of two teenage girls in a drunk driving incident, the simple fact remains that Ramos would not have killed those young women had he not been in the country illegally in the first place.

Rivera’s deluded perception the accident had nothing to do with illegal-immigration goes beyond the pale. It at least has as much to do with illegal-immigration as it does with drunk driving. In fact, I would say it is about illegal-immigration first and driving while intoxicated second. Had our border been far more secure than it is now in its current revolving door state, Ramos might have never been allowed to enter this country illegally. He might never have made his way to Virginia Beach. He might never had decided to get drunk the night of the fatal crash. He might never have recklessly bumbled his way behind the wheel of a vehicle, and he might never have killed two innocent people as a result. Had Alfredo Ramos not been allowed to enter this country illegally, those two girls would still be alive today. It’s a simple fact that no one, not ever Geraldo Rivera can, or should deny. To do so, as he did on The O’reilly Factor last week, is shameful and deserving of scorn.

Instead, Keith Olbermann praises Rivera and such insipid statements as “illegal immigrants commit less crime than American citizens.” To Keith and Geraldo: well duh! When you have a country whose population sits at around 300 million individuals with 12 to 20 million more illegal-immigrants, it is not difficult to understand that fewer crimes are committed by illegal-aliens than infractions by legal residents. Geraldo’s case is a hasty generalization bordering tu quoque. The obvious reigns supreme–there would be less crime in this country were our borders secure, meaning there would be fewer rapists, pedophiles, murders, gang bangers, drug dealers, thieves, and drunk drivers. How difficult is that to comprehend? Obviously, for Olbermann and Rivera (and this preposterous article at Salon.com), it’s beyond comprehension.

Also last week here in Los Angeles, another ugly drunk driving incident made headlines across the country with yet another illegal-alien drunk driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava who happened to snuff out the lives of another two American citizens–this time renowned film director, Bob Clark and his 22 year-old son Ariel Hanrath-Clark. Even though Velazquez-Nava has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, he still wished to express his condolences and sorrow for their deaths. Didn’t I just mention he pleaded not guilty?

Because two high profile incidents such as these occured in a relatively short time frame, by no means should this indicate that all or most illegal-aliens are as ignorant and careless as were Ramos and Velazquez-Nava, but their cases acutely bring to light, in the most tragic of circumstances, only one reason as to why we must gain control of our southern border. Drunk drivers, regardless of citizenship status, are ticking time bombs. But if we were to competently disallow entry to a group of people who accept driving while under the influence as simply a degenerate yet acceptable aspect of their peasant culture–their “manliness” is defined by how much they can drink and not fall down, or not kill people with a car apparently–then that would rightly reduce the amount of unnecessary deaths. Is that too difficult to accept? Of course not.

There are far too many reasons as to why the illegal-alien population is detrimental to the United States, and I’ve covered those many times before throughout this site. The problem that arises from the opposition, including activists, is their lack of reasons as to why we should allow them free access, other than the fact that the wealthy, whether they’re liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans simply want as much access to an easily exploitable labor base (i.e. modern slavery) as possible. Those who desire the unrestricted admittance of illegal-aliens only desire their exploitation without heeding the concrete consequences, even when those consequences end up killing American citizens.

If only Alfredo Ramos had been deported the first, or even the second time he’d been apprehended for DUI.

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Hispanic DWIs rooted in immigrants’ culture
Lifestyle, isolation figure in driving drunk

 

When Eliseo Hernandez came to the United States 30 years ago, he thought he drove better after a few beers. Driving drunk had been normal back in Mexico, he said. But Hernandez, 54, learned of its perils firsthand. He quit the practice after falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a tree 18 years ago.Then, last year, a young Hispanic man who authorities say was drunk nearly killed Hernandez’s only son, Diego, in a crash on a rural Johnston County road. Eliseo Hernandez’s daughter, who was nine months pregnant, lost her unborn child in the accident.

Hernandez has spent the past year following Diego through four hospitals and 14 brain surgeries. Diego only recently began to smile again and might never walk.

Hernandez said he hopes his painful journey will teach his friends and family a lesson. Car accidents are the top killer of Hispanics in North Carolina, and the disproportionate number of alcohol-related arrests and wrecks are an embarrassment to a minority already beleaguered by hard feelings over illegal immigration.

“It makes the Mexicans look bad, very bad,” Hernandez said. “The American people say ‘Oh, it’s just another Hispanic, the same as the others.’ ”

In 2005, there were 37 alcohol-related crashes caused by Hispanic drivers for every 10,000 Hispanics in the state, according to the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. That is more than three times the rate of alcohol-related crashes among non-Hispanics.

Hispanic leaders are struggling to stem a problem that they say is rooted in the waves of young men who leave the calming influences of church and family to labor alone in a new country.

“It’s difficult because you’re trying to compete with the loneliness,” said Tony Asion, public safety director for El Pueblo, an Hispanic advocacy group. “Then, as some learn, more come, and we start again.”

Carnage continues

Last month, a Johnston County father and son died in a fiery crash authorities say was caused by Luciano Tellez, 31, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Dwane Braswell, 35, and his son Jerry, 9, were riding in a tractor-trailer cab on N.C. 210 in the Cleveland community of Johnston County when Tellez struck the tractor and rolled it into a ditch, where it caught fire.

Empty beer cans were found in Tellez’ car, but authorities say it is impossible to know whether he was drunk.

It was the latest in a string of such accidents caused by Hispanic men. In February in Salisbury, a woman who was eight months pregnant and her unborn child were killed. In October, it was two college students and a high school boy. In January 2006, a man from El Salvador killed a Hillsborough woman in a head-on crash and fled, leaving an injured passenger in his own car.

Researchers say drunken driving among Hispanics is at least partially explained by demographics. As in many places where immigration is fairly recent, the Hispanic population in North Carolina is young and dominated by men — both factors that make them statistically more likely to drive drunk.

Men in their 20s and 30s made up more than half the people charged with DWI statewide in the year ending last July. Nearly 40 percent of North Carolina Hispanics were 21- to 39-year-old men in 2005, according to census estimates. This same age range accounted for only 18 percent of blacks and 16 percent of whites.

Bobby Dunn, who counsels Spanish-speaking DWI convicts in Johnston and Wilson counties, said his clients are often young men far from home with money in their pockets for the first time. Many were too poor to have cars in Mexico, so they have little experience behind the wheel.

They also see drinking as a way of showing their manhood.

“The magic number is 12,” Dunn said, or “un doce” in Spanish. “If you can drink 12 beers, you’re a man.”

Others say heavy drinking is part of a lifestyle dominated by long work days building homes, painting or picking crops.

Walking down Buck Jones Road to his apartment in West Raleigh, Alberto Gonzalez figured he would drink most of the 12-pack he had just bought that night, even though it was a weeknight.

Gonzalez, 29, said he hadn’t given much thought to spending a night without a beer in hand. “I just sit and drink,” he said. “Maybe a friend will come by. Other than work, this is what I do.”

Hernandez was part of an early wave of young men who came to North Carolina to pick tobacco. There were so few Hispanics in North Carolina then, he said, he couldn’t find a store that sold hot peppers or corn tortillas.

He had been a drinker in Mexico, he said, but it got worse in the United States. He didn’t have a family to tend to, and he felt very alone in a place where no one understood him.

“When you are young, you don’t think anything will happen to you,” he said. “When you have a family, you care more about your life.”

In fact, the increasing number of Hispanic women and children in North Carolina may explain why the prevalence of drunken-driving accidents and arrests among Hispanics has not grown with the population.

By some measures, DWI accidents and citations among Hispanics are actually diminishing.

Hispanics made up 18 percent of the 75,000 DWI arrests last year, while they accounted for 6 percent of the population. The portion of DWI citations going to Hispanics has crept up slightly since 2000, even as the growth in the state’s Hispanic population has outpaced overall population growth by more than 500 percent.

Since 2000, alcohol-related crashes among Hispanics have dropped from 9 percent of all crashes that involve Hispanics to 7 percent.

The pressure to reverse the trend is intense. Each fatality brings calls for deportations and tighter immigration controls.

Luke Steele, 49, adds up the deaths and sees a growing problem that stems from immigration. He said his daughter lost her college roommate to a Hispanic drunken driver in October.

Steele, a longtime fire rescue worker, also remembers a 1991 wreck in which a teenage girl was killed by an illegal immigrant who “skipped town before the case ever went to trial.”

“We’ve still got plenty of stupid white, black, pink and purple people that drive drunk. That’s plenty to go around,” he said. “The reality is if they weren’t here, they could not kill people [while] driving drunk.”

After the March wreck in Johnston County, U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Charlotte Republican, reintroduced a bill that would require the deportation of all immigrants convicted of drunken driving.

And anti-immigration groups have seized on the issue as an effective marketing strategy for their cause.

“The effect on the labor force is real, but it’s indirect,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tighter controls on immigration. “Whereas, an illegal alien who drives drunk and kills some newlywed couple is tangible.”

Asion, who leads El Pueblo’s effort to curb drunken driving, works to separate the DWI problem from the immigration debate.

Many Hispanics have not grown up with anti-drunken-driving messages, and it will take time for the ideas to take hold.

“It’s not something that you can do easily,” Asion said. “If it was, then the U.S. population would have already done it.”

News

Hispanics wary of fallout from deadly crash in Virginia Beach

Manuel Ayala, at right, has been in the United States nearly 20 years. He said many people automatically assume he's an illegal immigrant. Now,
Manuel Ayala, at right, has been in the United States nearly 20 years. He said many people automatically assume he’s an illegal immigrant. Now, “the discrimination, it’s going to show more,” said Ayala, owner of San Jose Mexican Mini Mart. STEPHEN M. KATZ/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

By GILLIAN GAYNAIR, The Virginian-Pilot
© April 7, 2007
VIRGINIA BEACH – Because one Hispanic person is accused of causing a tragic accident, Monica Restrepo said, she now frets that many will be judged and be the brunt of insults.

“We’re very worried about what’s going to happen to all of us in the community,” said Restrepo, who owns the decade-old La Tapatia, believed to be one of the first Latin American grocery stores in the city.

Restrepo and other local Hispanics this week expressed their sympathy for the families of two Virginia Beach girls killed in a car crash March 30. But they also couldn’t mask their concern over a possible backlash against both legal and illegal immigrants.

They fear that because of Alfredo Ramos, people will categorize all Hispanics as drunken drivers and unauthorized immigrants. Ramos, 22, is charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16. He had a record of three alcohol-related convictions in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and had entered the country from Mexico illegally.

Many Hispanics said the public response to the incident has been incorrectly centered on Ramos’ immigration status instead of on drunken-driving laws and penalties.

“When someone has committed a crime, it doesn’t matter what legal status they have, what ethnic group – you’ve committed a crime,” said Mavel Velasco Muñoz, chairwoman of the Hispanic Leadership Forum of Hampton Roads. “We are not condoning it,” but, she said, the public is wrongly lumping together immigration issues and DUI laws.

Beatriz Amberman, a Virginia Beach resident and vice chairwoman of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, agreed.

“I wonder how many people are driving under the influence of alcohol and have been let go with a slap on the hand… and whether the system is actually working in that regard,” she said. “Rather than that… because of this one individual, we’re judging all undocumented workers.”

The tragedy gained national attention Wednesday through Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” when host Bill O’Reilly blamed the city of Virginia Beach and accused local officials of providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants. O’Reilly and TV personality Geraldo Rivera traded verbal punches on Thursday (video).

Locally, rumors swirled Friday among some Hispanics that federal immigration authorities were coming to Virginia Beach to raid establishments that employ illegal immigrants.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington said that such rumors are no t surprising, given the amount of attention the Ramos case has received.

“I can’t tell you that no investigation is going on, because that’s something we do on a daily basis,” Ernestine Fobbs said. “I can’t confirm or deny whether we have an active investigation going on at this time. It’s not something that we’d reveal.”

Ramos had worked briefly at Mi Casita restaurant on Bonney Road, according to Gary C. Byler, an attorney representing El Toro Loco Inc., the corporation that owns Mi Casita. Byler said Ramos was told not to come back to work when his documents appeared to be invalid. He was not working at the restaurant at the time of the car crash, Byler said.

It wasn’t unusual to see Ramos and other employees walking along Bonney Road and visiting establishments in Thalia Village Shoppes, business owners there said.

In the week after the car crash, there has been less foot traffic overall, said Junior Garcia, who owns La Tienda International Foods and Mi Tierra Restaurant.

Garcia said that since the incident, he has also noticed more police in the area and suspected that “we’ll probably have more police officers stopping Latinos on looks.”

Like others, Garcia was concerned about the response to the tragedy.

“I haven’t heard once that it was an accident,” he said. “White people also drink. I feel people have blown out of proportion his status and where he’s from. It could have been anybody.”

While he and his friends talked about the Ramos case at Mi Orgullo Latin Accessories in the same plaza, Jonathan Rodriguez wondered whether there would be such a public outcry had an intoxicated white citizen been accused in the girls’ deaths.

“Now they want to punish every Latin person out there,” he said. “Now it’s going to be harder for us…. You could be a citizen, but they’re still going to hate you.”

Local Hispanic leaders say they hope to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to educate more people about the dangers of drunken driving, push for tougher penalties for it and work for immigration laws that can be respected as fair.

Amberman, of the Coalition of Latino Organizations, said she is worried that “people want to look at only one side of the picture.”

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The conclusions based on the above headline and found in the study from the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta may be slightly specious, but admittedly many Americans lose their lives on a regular basis in automobile accidents with unlicensed and uninsured illegal aliens.  How many individuals actually lose their lives to violent criminals who also happen to be residing in this country illegally would be a difficult statistic to uncover considering there are really no nation-wide detailed facts and figures to comprehensibly collate such a report.

Still, that didn’t prevent the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta to conduct such a study and release their results–twelve a day equaling 4,380 each year.  While the actual number may not be known, it would not surprise me if this data wasn’t too far from the target.

From the article…

Total U.S. troop deaths in Iraq as of last week were reported at 2,863. Total U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan during the five years of the Afghan campaign are currently at 289, according to the Department of Defense.

I’m bothered by the idea of so many men and women are sent abroad to fight wars we should have no business instigating or participating in, when in fact this country is in desperate need to fix issues that could pose serious domestic threats to our livelihoods.  I believe we must look within and attempt to remedy our own predicaments before we look outwards, if not entirely then reasonably.

It is a shame for anyone, anywhere to lose their life to violence.  It’s by far a more egregious sin when millions are murdered simply because our government will not take the first step in securely beefing up our border.

Alberto S. Lomeli
Alberto S. Lomeli, an illegal immigrant accused of murder in California

Juan Carlos Solis
Juan Carlos Solis is awaiting trial on 41 counts of aggravated murder

Garcia
Genaro Remigio Garcia murdered his girlfriend and their 3 small children

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Richard Toledo murdered two young boys

Illegal aliens murder
12 Americans daily

By Joseph Farah
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – While the military “quagmire” in Iraq was said to tip the scales of power in the U.S. midterm elections, most Americans have no idea more of their fellow citizens – men, women and children – were murdered this year by illegal aliens than the combined death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since those military campaigns began. Though no federal statistics are kept on murders or any other crimes committed by illegal aliens, a number of groups have produced estimates based on data collected from prisons, news reports and independent research.

Twelve Americans are murdered every day by illegal aliens, according to statistics released by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. If those numbers are correct, it translates to 4,380 Americans murdered annually by illegal aliens. That’s 21,900 since Sept. 11, 2001.

Total U.S. troop deaths in Iraq as of last week were reported at 2,863. Total U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan during the five years of the Afghan campaign are currently at 289, according to the Department of Defense.

But the carnage wrought by illegal alien murderers represents only a fraction of the pool of blood spilled by American citizens as a result of an open border and un-enforced immigration laws.

While King reports 12 Americans are murdered daily by illegal aliens, he says 13 are killed by drunk illegal alien drivers – for another annual death toll of 4,745. That’s 23,725 since Sept. 11, 2001.

While no one – in or out of government – tracks all U.S. accidents caused by illegal aliens, the statistical and anecdotal evidence suggests many of last year’s 42,636 road deaths involved illegal aliens.

A report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found 20 percent of fatal accidents involve at least one driver who lacks a valid license. In California, another study showed that those who have never held a valid license are about five times more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident than licensed drivers.

Statistically, that makes them an even greater danger on the road than drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked – and nearly as dangerous as drunk drivers.

King also reports eight American children are victims of sexual abuse by illegal aliens every day – a total of 2,920 annually.

Based on a one-year in-depth study, Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each. She analyzed 1,500 cases from January 1999 through April 2006 that included serial rapes, serial murders, sexual homicides and child molestation committed by illegal immigrants.

As the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. increases, so does the number of American victims.

According to Edwin Rubenstien, president of ESR Research Economic Consultants, in Indianapolis in 1980, federal and state correctional facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. But at the end of 2003, approximately 267,000 illegal aliens were incarcerated in all U.S. jails and prisons.

While the federal government doesn’t track illegal alien murders, illegal alien rapes or illegal alien drunk driving deaths, it has studied illegal aliens incarcerated in U.S. prisons.

In April 2005, the Government Accountability Office released a report on a study of 55,322 illegal aliens incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities during 2003. It found the following:

  • The 55,322 illegal aliens studied represented a total of 459,614 arrests – some eight arrests per illegal alien;

  • Their arrests represented a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses – some 13 offenses per illegal alien;

  • 36 percent had been arrested at least five times before.

“While the vast majority of illegal aliens are decent people who work hard and are only trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, (something you or I would probably do if we were in their place), it is also a fact that a disproportionately high percentage of illegal aliens are criminals and sexual predators,” states Peter Wagner, author of a new report called “The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration.” “That is part of the dark side of illegal immigration and when we allow the ‘good’ in we get the ‘bad’ along with them. The question is, how much ‘bad’ is acceptable and at what price?” 

Juan Carlos Solis

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For those who believe that all of the illegal immigration protests of late last Spring and early summer were not detrimental to the pro-illegal immigrant movement, aside from the obvious evidence, one need only look to the recent smack down that transpired with Assembly Appropriations Committee in the Democratic Assembly last week concerning the re-up of the always-doomed-to-fail drivers licenses for illegal immigrants bill (SB1160), brought to the floor once again, and for the seventh time by Senator, moron, and illegal immigration supporter, Gil Cedillio. Well, at least he’s persistent.

Senate Bill 1160 died earlier than anyone expected. The fact that it died in the AAC must be a huge slap to the face of moron Cedillio, especially since the previous iteration of the bill made it all the way to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk the preceding year before it was terminated by our state leader. There wasn’t even vote. Oh yeah, Cedillo’s pissed. See?

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “My intention and my commitment is to move this bill to the floor. We have the right to have this bill debated, voted on, and moved to the governor’s desk.”

Senator Moron, sorry to burst your the little bubble you live in where illegals dance in gumdrop fields with cotton-candy clouds and rainbows where leprechauns stash their pots ‘o gold, but that isn’t going to happen, at least before elections in November, and most likely until the end of the year. The Republicans and the Democrats both know that this is the politically charged issue in California this year. They will not jeopardize their positions, especially for your moronic propositions.

From the SacBee

…in order for the legislation to be resurrected, the Appropriations Committee would have to meet again — which is unlikely because that would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

Another interesting comment came from Cedillio’s fellow moron, Assemblywoman, Judy Chu, a Democrat from Monterey Park.

She said, “I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit IDs.”

Um, the debate on illegal immigrants’ right to apply for a California drivers license is a passionate one. Judy, there will never be a time when this issue can be discussed sans passion. Rationally perhaps. But minus passion? Of course not.

And here’s a suggestion. Upon finding illegal alien unlicensed drivers, arrest them. Maybe even, god forbid, deport them. If there’s one thing I and many other Los Angeles residents noticed during the Day Without an Immigrant protests, the freeways ran smoothly and efficiently. Congestion was no where to be seen on most LA highways. It was a glorious day. I say, bring on more protests.

Moron Cedillio was of course pissed at his fellow Dems including Judy, and the infamous Speaker Moron, illegal alien lover, and general insano, Fabian Nunez who surprisingly sided with the majority in this instance by agreeing to shelve SB1160, at least for the time being. Nunez may be a moron, but he isn’t entirely stupid. He knows as well as anyone, even though, and especially because he’s a member of the Green Party, that elections are swiftly approaching, and if he wishes to maintain a hold on his position some political acquiescence will be prudent.

But ultimately, why did the Dems decide not to vote to pass this if-you’re-in-support-of-it-you’re-insane bill? Because even though they know that if it were to find its way to the governor’s desk, there would be no way in hell Schwarzenegger would ever sign into law such a ridiculous bill. He’s already proven as much by vetoing the same bill last year. And those legislators who support the bill in their little illegal alien loving hearts, fully understand that the majority of California voters, not to be confused with California residents, are adamantly opposed to licenses for illegals.

Oh, but isn’t the governor’s seat up for grabs this November as well? Don’t illegal immigrants and their supporters have a hope that this bill will be passed if someone else were to become the new California Governor? Hardly. Despite the fact that the moron Phil Angelides supports driver licenses for illegals, the issue is moot because there’s no way in hell he will win in the upcoming gubernatorial election. The man is too out of touch. Of course, there’s a chance I’ll be proven wrong, but somehow, I seriously believe that I will be proven right in the end. The incumbent will continue his reign as Governor, and as a result, no drivers licenses for illegals.

More from the SacBee…

…Cedillo argued there has never been a better time for the legislation, comparing it to civil rights laws that passed during the height of passions in the 1960s.

“This is the best year to move this bill, (which) has the broadest support it has ever had,” he said.

“In the spring, millions of people marched for the rights of immigrants, including driver’s licenses.”

Hello! Cedillo, you are truly a moron. How can this bill have “the broadest support it has ever had” if it didn’t even make it to a vote on the assembly floor? It was scooped like poop from a litter box and flushed down the toilet. How much less support can there possibly be for your precious SB1160?

Apparently, and as I’ve said, there was an enormous backlash due to the illegal immigration protests and marches last Spring as was made evident concerning this issue and how quickly it was stamped out on the Assembly floor.

And speaking of marches, protests, rallies, and circus sideshows, it looks as if we’re in for more this coming Labor Day, courtesy of, once more, “Larry” Nativo Lopez. Again, I was very pleased with all of the protests/marches because they managed to illuminate to many Californians and Los Angeles citizens how detrimental illegal immigration is and continues to be to this state and this country. So bring on more protests, because you’re only hurting yourselves.

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Immigration politics stall license bill

By Aurelio Rojas — Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:01 am PDT Friday, August 18, 2006

Fearing a voter backlash this fall, Democratic lawmakers Thursday derailed legislation to allow illegal immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses.For the eighth consecutive year, legislation pushed by state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, that has provoked deep emotions on both sides of the immigration debate has apparently failed.

Unlike last year, when the legislation was vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who had vowed to do so again — Democrats in the Assembly pre-emptively shelved Senate Bill 1160.

This time, the measure died without a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“My intention and expectations are to move the bill to the (Assembly) floor and to the governor’s desk as soon as possible,” Cedillo said.

But in order for the legislation to be resurrected, the Appropriations Committee would have to meet again — which is unlikely because that would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

Cedillo blamed Speaker Fabian Núñez and election-year politics for Thursday’s development. A spokesman for Núñez said the decision was made by Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park.

“My understanding is, it was the decision of the appropriations chair not to bring up the bill,” Núñez spokesman Richard Stapler said.

In a prepared statement, Chu noted that she has voted for the legislation several times because it would improve public safety.

“However, it has come to a point where a rational, productive debate on the issue on the floor is now highly unlikely,” she said.

“I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit IDs.”

Earlier this month, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who supported the bill, suggested it might be wise not to give more fodder to Republicans who oppose the measure.

Democrats in tight legislative races also feared they could feel the wrath of voters if they voted for the bill in the charged atmosphere surrounding illegal immigration this year.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides, the Democratic nominee for governor, has endorsed the measure.

But Cedillo argued there has never been a better time for the legislation, comparing it to civil rights laws that passed during the height of passions in the 1960s.

“This is the best year to move this bill, (which) has the broadest support it has ever had,” he said.

“In the spring, millions of people marched for the rights of immigrants, including driver’s licenses.”

SB 1160 would create special driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants that have a different appearance from regular licenses.

The immigrant licenses would not be valid for identification or purposes other than driving.

Republicans contend issuing such licenses would weaken efforts to stop illegal immigration. In 2002, Gov. Gray Davis signed another license bill introduced by Cedillo that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain regular licenses.

But during the 2003 campaign in which Davis was recalled, Schwarzenegger criticized the measure.

Shortly after he was elected, Schwarzenegger signed a bill repealing it, saying he would sign a revised version as long as it contained stronger security provisions.

Last year, however, Schwarzenegger said he wanted to wait until rules are developed under the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which requires every state to issue driver’s licenses that comply with a national standard.

His administration is still awaiting formulation of the regulations.

Cedillo argues the Real ID Act allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. He maintains that the governor has the authority to come up with a compromise in the interim.

“My bill conforms to federal law,” he said, noting illegal immigrants would not receive regular licenses. “I’m going to keep fighting for it.”

Illegal-immigrant license bill crashes

By Edwin GarciaMEDIANEWS SACRAMENTO BUREAU
Inside Bay Area

SACRAMENTO — California’s illegal immigrants won’t get a chance to apply for driver’s licenses anytime soon, based on the surprising decision Thursday by a powerful legislative committee that effectively shelves the measure yet again.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee, which typically announces decisions with little discussion and without a roll call vote, put the measure on hold. In political lingo, however, the action signifies the bill has all but died — unless committee members agree to reconsider over the next two weeks, which typically doesn’t happen.

This was the seventh time in seven years that Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, tried to pass the measure, which would establish a special license for the state’s more than 2 million undocumented drivers.

His most recent efforts have been passed by the Legislature only to be vetoed by governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis. This time the bill was shot down by a Democratic-controlled committee.

Political insiders suggested the measure was too controversial for an election year. The bill is opposed by Republicans — and a majority of voters — who say it would reward people breaking immigration law.

Republican Schwarzenegger, who is running for re-election, has said he would veto the bill. His Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, supports the measure.

Appropriations committee chairwoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, said she “strongly supports” the public safety premise behind the bill, but said a “rational, productive debate” on the Assembly floor was unlikely.

“I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit ID’s,” Chu said in an e-mailed statement.

“As far as I am concerned, this issue is not dead and I would encourage my colleagues to continue to advocate for a fair and sensible solution.”

The response angered Cedillo.

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “My intention and my commitment is to move this bill to the floor. We have the right to have this bill debated, voted on, and moved to the governor’s desk.”

Assemblyman Chuck Devore, R-Irvine, said the committee made the right move, considering the bill is unpopular with the voting public. Slightly more than half of California’s adults oppose giving licenses to illegal immigrants, according to a Field Poll released in March.

“I think they understand this is a little bit of a political hot potato,” Devore said.

Mike Spence, who has led a statewide effort to bar illegal immigrants from receiving licenses, was surprised the committee held the measure, SB1160, which previously was approved by the full Senate.

“Obviously they know that a majority of Californians oppose licenses for illegals,” said Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly. “And they didn’t want to give the governor an issue in vetoing it, because they know this hurts Angelides because he’s on the wrong side of immigration in California.”

The national president of the Mexican American Political Association chided Democrats for keeping the bill from moving forward.

“They represent themselves as the party of opposition to anti-immigrant politics of the Republicans and they’re demonstrating that they’re no different in essence,” said Nativo Lopez, who belongs to the Green Party.

Jose Sandoval, who has led a San Jose-based drive to gather thousands of signatures in support of licenses, said the effort organized by Voluntarios de la Comunidad will continue.

“The people are going to feel very sad about this situation,” he said, “but they won’t give up.”

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