Things in Los Angeles have reached the point that illegal aliens — people who by all rights ought not to be living here in the first place — are nonetheless able to exert sufficient influence on politicians that public policy is altered to suit their desires. Witness the debate taking place (if one can truly call it a debate; the conclusion is foregone) over the impounding of cars driven by unlicensed drivers.
California law authorizes police officers to impound cars found to be driven by unlicensed drivers. It further authorizes the storage of those cars for 30 days so as to discourage the unlicensed drivers from returning to the roads. Under direction from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is weighing a policy change for his department that would require officers, who having stopped an unlicensed driver, to allow him time to summon a licensed driver to the scene and release the car to him. This proposed change in policy was discussed at a Dec. 13 meeting of the Los Angeles police commission, the five-member civilian panel that oversees the LAPD. That meeting, which can be viewed here, was remarkable for its near-total obfuscation of the impetus behind the proposed change, which is to make Los Angeles more hospitable to illegal aliens.
There was a time in California and indeed the entire country when the law affected the number of illegal aliens coming over the border. How quaint that notion seems now, for today it is the number that affects the law. There are approximately 600,000 illegal aliens living in the city of Los Angeles, or about 15 percent of the total population. For the time being, California law does not allow non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses, but many illegal aliens choose to risk the consequences and drive anyway. When they are stopped for a driving infraction and found to be unlicensed, they are cited and their cars are impounded in accordance with the Vehicle Code, which draws no distinctions between U.S. citizens who for whatever reason fail to obtain driver’s licenses and illegal aliens who are prohibited from doing so. Advocates for illegal aliens claim that enforcement of the laws requiring driver’s licenses and the consequent impoundment of cars place an undue burden on otherwise law-abiding people.
The illegal alien lobby has no better friend than Mayor Villaraigosa, who earlier this year put the camel’s nose into the tent on the issue of impounding cars driven by unlicensed drivers. At the mayor’s urging, the LAPD instituted a policy that allowed a sober but unlicensed driver discovered at a sobriety checkpoint to call for a licensed driver to take charge of his car and thereby avoid having it impounded. The proposed new policy would extend this procedure to all traffic stops.