By: Irene Patatoukos
Staff Writer, Tampa Bay
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some have no tolerance and choose to strongly voice their feelings against immigration reform. Others, like myself, feel that something must be done. This is the reason is why I choose to report on this topic and make everyone aware of our governments efforts to fix our broken immigration system. I am very pleased to see that various laws, both big and small, have been enacted to help all those who I find myself being an advocate for. I have written before about one of the bigger laws that has been recently enacted, the DREAM act also known as the DACA, and how many of these so called “illegals” are finally getting the chance to live out the American dream of being able to work hard and have an opportunity to obtain an education. Today, I am pleased to report that less than a week ago the state of California also gave these individuals a glimpse of hope through another change.
All “illegal immigrants” living in the state of California will now have the opportunity to obtain drivers licenses. The concept of “illegals” obtaining licenses is nothing new, and most feel that changes made by one state aren’t a big deal and will not greatly impact the bigger picture. However, for those of us who are advocates this is another giant step in the right direction. It is believed that the passing of this law has been spurred by the immigration reform we have been hearing so much about, but in reality this law has been around for years and merely needed the help of the right person to bring it to life. We must give thanks to Governor Jerry Brown, who finally signed this law that has failed to pass a multitude of times over the past decade.
Currently seven states allow “illegal immigrants” to obtain driver’s licenses. These states include: New Mexico, Illinois, Utah, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and now California. We who are advocates continue to breath a sigh of relief as we see this continued progression of acceptance of these residents of our country. It has been a very slow process to get to this point. However, I am a firm believer of “patience being a virtue” and “slow and steady winning the race”. The hope is that a domino affect occurs. That because the state of California is one of our most populated states, it will set an example and cause other states to want to follow suit and give these individuals hope that one day they may be accepted. A driver’s license is not by any means a ticket to citizenship for these individuals and it will not be considered as a federally issued form of identification. What it will do is give these individuals a privilege they never thought they would have. It will show them that they are accepted into our society, that they have a place amongst us, and we do feel that they belong here. For those of us who want to see these individuals become, at the very least, legal residents if not citizens, this is ultimately another step in the right direction.