Looks like we're inching our way towards some immigration reform...
A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants in California to own a driver's license is predicted to ease into law, making California the eleventh state to potentially legalize such a policy. Both chambers of the state legislature approved the bill Thursday, and Governor Jerry Brown has said that it has his full support. California, by the by, has the largest immigrant population in America.
The issue of whether to allow undocumented immigrants the right to a driver's license has raged for years, and has been plagued with setbacks both within and outside of California. In light of the turning public pinion the issue, several more states are considering proposing a similar bill: in May, the notoriously intractable Colorado — at least when it comes to immigration laws — passed the legislation. Also in May, a Latino immigrant group in Minnesota pledged to go on hunger strike in support of a similar bill.
Reform in California would send a message that the issue requires widespread reformation. Governor Brown said as much in a statement: "This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally... Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."
Safety is a key concern behind the growing popularity of the measure, as is an increasing emphasis on the need for immigration reform. Because the administration had been known to use driving without a driver's license as grounds for deportation, immigrants are put in a tough spot: many need to drive their vehicles out of necessity for work. Since the immigrant population is estimated to be large — between 7 and 20 million across the nation — a decent percentage of drivers simply didn't have licenses, and thus pose a serious safety risk.
Over in Washington, immigration reform has been on the table for quite a while, and of late, has been ramped up in intensity — but the national furore over Syria has recently taken precedent. Still, President Obama has promised comprehensive immigration reform for his second term in the White House. According to the official White House site:
Our nation's immigration system is broken. Fixing it is an economic and national security imperative. That's why President Obama is working to pass a common sense, comprehensive set of reforms that ensures everyone plays by the same rules.
Bring it on!