LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles city councilman who, as a state lawmaker, was the first to introduce a measure to grant drivers licenses to immigrants in the country illegally today denounced an effort to overturn the current law on the books.
Councilman Gil Cedillo first introduced such a measure in 1997 when he was in the state Legislature. Some 16 years later, AB 60 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.
In April, Cedillo helped celebrate a milestone of 1 million licenses having been granted since the law was enacted.
The effort to gather the 365,880 voter signatures necessary to qualify a measure to overturn AB 60 for the ballot is being led by Don Rosenberg, whose son, Drew, was killed in 2010 when his motorcycle was hit by an unlicensed driver who had been granted temporary immigration status to remain in the U.S.
"The loss of Don Rosenberg's son is unfortunate, but we cannot blame an entire class of motorists for it," Cedillo said.
"California has come a long way since the days of Proposition 187. We have made it clear where we stand in the fight for immigrant/human rights. California is a leader for immigrant protections, as is evidence by the numerous laws we've enacted and the lawsuits filed against ICE. "We must stop politicizing immigration issues for political gain, like we have done with DACA, DAPA and the separation of families," he said.
"The 2015 Stanford (University) study concluded what we already knew, that licensing undocumented motorists would improve traffic safety. It resulted in lower hit-and-run accidents. It is Mr. Rosenberg's right to collect signatures for this initiative, but I advise him not to poke the hornet's nest.
Proposition 187 made us strong. A fight to preserve AB 60 would make us stronger." The measure to overturn AB 60 also seeks to eliminate the current "sanctuary state" law and end automatic voter registration practices in California.
At least one study found that hit-and-run accidents dropped after AB 60 became law, while data from the National Safety Council found that motor vehicle-related deaths jumped 10 percent in California from 2015 through 2017 but did not cite any cause for the increase.
"The line that AB 60 will make the roads safer was totally bull," Rosenberg told the Sacramento Bee. "It is not safer. It was a complete lie."