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Saturday, May 29, 2004

Compromise Sought on Immigrant License Issue

Compromise Sought on Immigrant License Issue

The controversy over allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses is once again at a full boil, as legislators push the governor to act on the issue.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met on Thursday with the Democratic Latino Caucus in an attempt to hammer out a compromise on the issue. Although both sides described the talks as "fruitful," the negotiations failed to produce an agreement on security and background checks, the governor's top concerns.

A spokeswoman for the governor said he will stand firm on the issue of background checks. "We have to make sure the people are who they say they are, so therefore public safety and national security are paramount concerns," said Margita Thompson, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger.

Caucus members went into the negotiations with concerns that the governor might be backing off a promise to seek a solution to make licenses available to undocumented immigrants.

Those involved in the meeting indicated the Schwarzenegger had put those fears to rest. "The governor did say to the three of us today that he was committed to ensuring that we provide driver's licenses to undocumented persons, so long as we address the security concerns that have been expressed," said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles.

The governor will meet with members of the Latino Caucus again next week to discuss the issue. One of the subjects will likely be a bill introduced by state Senator Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles.

Senate Bill 1160 contains language requiring background checks, and would require applicants to bear the cost of fingerprinting and computerized background checks. The bill can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link below.

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