Mexico could show California the way with driver’s licenses

By Barnard R. Thompson,, August 30, 2004

...The California legislature, on August 27, narrowly approved a bill that would allow an estimated 2 million illegal immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses. This after failing to come to a compromise agreement with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who due to security concerns wants due diligence background checks and proper identification on any and all applicants for licenses in California.

Schwarzenegger also says that any such licenses issued to non-citizens in California should have a special identifying mark... By extension, this separation is also needed in order to distinguish citizens from the unauthorized on lists such as those used for voter registration and jury duty.

The governor is expected to veto the legislation that otherwise will go into effect on January 1, 2005.

California senator Gil Cedillo, the chief proponent of the driver’s license to illegal immigrants initiative, argues however that all of the governor’s concerns have been met and the bill should be promulgated. According to Cedillo “it is the safest document in America.”...

Mexico’s Matrícula Consular, or Consular Registration Certificate, is a credential issued to Mexican nationals at consulates abroad. The ID card is easy to obtain in the U.S... and the undocumented are instantly documented. would appear that Mexican lawmakers may have a better sense of their sovereign responsibility to protect national security and police the nation than some of their U.S. counterparts....

...In order to obtain a regular Baja California driver’s license the applicant must know how to read and write, be over the age of 18 (“student licenses” are available for those over 16), and they must show an official photo and signed ID. Those forms of identification accepted include a Mexican passport, a federal or state voter’s ID or military identification.

Furthermore, applicants must demonstrate proof of residency through electricity, water, telephone and property tax bills that are less than one month old. They must also have a health certificate no less than one month old. And of course they must pass the requisite written and driving tests.

Foreign nationals applying for a Baja California driver’s license must comply with the applicable points mentioned above, plus as with most states in Mexico they must “duly prove their legal presence in the country.”...