The LA Times reports that, Wednesday afternoon, in a meeting with the paper’s editorial board and reporters, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck expressed what he saw as the need for some kind of driver’s licensing for California’s undocumented residents.
While Beck’s thoughts on the topic are exceedingly practical and steeped in…oh, I don’t know…logic and facts, his stand will likely illicit a firestorm of criticism. Nevermind that undocumented people are driving anyway—to get to work and drive their kids to school—thus licensing our residents, legal or not, will make us all safer.
In any case, here’s what the Times reports about what Beck had to say:
“My personal belief is that they should be able to” have licenses, Beck said in response to a question during a meeting with Times’ reporters and editorial writers. “The reality is that all the things that we’ve done – ‘we’ being the state of California – over the last 14, 16 years have not reduced the problem one iota, haven’t reduced undocumented aliens driving without licenses. So we have to look at what we’re doing. When something doesn’t work over and over and over again, my view is that you should reexamine it to see if there is another way that makes more sense.”
Beck said he does not believe licenses for illegal immigrants should be identical to regular ones. Saying “it could be a provisional license, it could be a nonresident license,” he acknowledged that state officials would have to find ways to address widely held concerns that offering licenses to people in the county illegally could make it easier for terrorists go undetected.
For Beck, however, such concerns are outweighed by what he said would be improved safety on California roads and the ability of police to identify the people they encounter. “Why wouldn’t you want to put people through a rigorous testing process? Why wouldn’t you want to better identify people who are going to be here?” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. And we could increase safety on the roads. When you make things illegal you cause a lot of other things by chain reaction.”
What he said.
Thank you, Chief Charlie.