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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

License to Drive Safely Doesn't Give Citizenship

November 15, 2003

Re "Group Calls Driver's License Law Unconstitutional, Files Lawsuit," Nov. 11:

The brouhaha over granting California driver's licenses to noncitizens is most often tied to the belief that the possession of a license will grant noncitizens all the rights of citizenship. The sole purpose of a driver's license is to constrain those who drive on California highways; the Department of Motor Vehicles is not responsible for confirming citizenship. With the change in the law, the informal practice of accepting a driver's license as default evidence of citizenship will undoubtedly become history.

The worrywarts need not feel threatened that the privileges of citizenship will be granted to all those merely in possession of a driver's license. Is it not far more important that we provide a means for controlling and monitoring those who drive our highways than that we provide each driver with a substitute for a passport?

Michael Ernstoff

Los Angeles

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The law that goes into effect in January 2004 giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants is a good law. It means safer driving for all California drivers.

I would like to know if Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger ever drove without a license when he first came to the United States.

Priscilla Lazzara

La Puente

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