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LAPD Chief Supports Driver's Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

February 23, 2012  | 

Photo: Paul Clinton
Photo: Paul Clinton

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times he supports giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants as a way to increase safety on the roads.

During an interview with the Times editorial board, Chief Beck said the licenses would also help officers identify who they encounter at vehicle stops and accident scenes.

The license "could be a provisional license, it could be a nonresident license," according to Chief Beck, who also acknowledged that state officials would have to find ways to address widely held concerns that offering licenses to people in the country illegally could make it easier for terrorists go undetected.

Comments (56)

Displaying 1 - 56 of 56

doc @ 2/23/2012 5:51 PM

giving drivers licenses to illegals will not increase safety. you are experiencing a momentary lapse in judgement which has compromised your ability to enforce all laws not just certain ones.

L @ 2/23/2012 6:17 PM

next we will be handing them social security numbers

Robert Hall @ 2/23/2012 6:25 PM

I am a retired Sheriff on thr border in New Mexico and for the life of me I can not figure how the Chief can say that our roadways will be safer!! As a law enforcement officer it is our job to enforce the laws, if a illegal immigrant is in this country he is BREAKING THE LAW!! It is sad that an Illegal Immigrant has more wrights than the American Citizen and costing this country Billions of dollars!!! When are we as Americans going to stand up for our rights? If people like Chief Beck continue to cater to Illegals they are going to take over our country and never fire a shot!! Just look at the violence that is already happening, murder, rape, robbery, thieft, drug cartels already in our big cities and ect. It time for our country to wake up and take back our country before it's to late.
Robert Hall
New Mexico
Robert Hall

Henderson Cooper @ 2/23/2012 6:40 PM

In my opinion a dumb, politically and socially motivated idea. An illogical rationale.

greg @ 2/23/2012 6:47 PM

If we are gonna start doing this,then whats the purpose of the border walls? I guess if you dont get caught coming in,thats cool?smh damn

TJ @ 2/23/2012 6:48 PM

Its good to see that Chief Beck has joined the growing list of PC police chiefs who are able to completely ignore all they know about law enforcement to appease the politicians and the public at large that also ignores reality for fantasy. Aid people already breaking laws and by their mere presence in the US show a complete lack of regard for US Law.

Mitch O'Connor @ 2/23/2012 6:52 PM

To the New Mexico "Chief" -- Sir, as you well know, we do not have the authority to enforce immigration law. Therefore, since ICE isn't enforcing as they should be, what are we to do? Giving illegals drivers licenses is a smart way to ensure that they are driving here safely since they are already here anyway and there's not much we can do about it without federal support. I'd rather someone on the road be safety tested and licensed if they are here anyway than driving around with no license where they can KILL me, a police officer, or god forbid my son or daughter on the road. This is not a bad idea, it's just that some of us have a hard time seeing past our own short-sightedness. Signed, a 15 year NJ police officer and former Roughneck! Oo-Rah!!

Cleetus McDummycop @ 2/23/2012 6:55 PM

Sumone should send them all back to mexiko or whatever thehyre from because they are stealing our jobs here, i wanted to be a police officer but now Juan Rodriguez is a cop and I know for a fact he is illegal because he is from the mexico. so we need to stop these people from driving safely or else maybe they will get your job too!!

Bob@Az. @ 2/23/2012 7:05 PM

Oh wow. Why stop at driver licenses? Lets give 'em free health care....oh, wait. We already do. OK, how about not making them have auto, ah well, how 'bout not making them appear in court!! Oops, did it again. Hell, what DON'T we give them? It does not surprise me that Chief Beck wants to issue licenses to, "illegals".....I'll have to look that word definition up in my dictionary. Or better yet, I'll send the good chief one!! In english, of course. Maybe he can have a REAL LEO read it to him.

Michael @ 2/23/2012 7:06 PM

As an Officer in Southern California, this type of chief simply makes my job tougher. Licensing Illegal immigrants DOES NOT make the roads safer. One who does not respect the laws of the country they have illegally entered will not heed the rules of the road. If the illegal immigrant is unhappy about not being allowed the privilige of operating a vehilce then they may return to their country of origin. I am surprised that the Officers of LAPD have not submitted a vote of no confidence to the city council.

Chief Tom @ 2/23/2012 7:21 PM

Early onset Alzheimers.....too bad. He probably voted for that racist socialist Hussein Obama too. all means, give away whatever we have left in this country.

starrman69 @ 2/23/2012 7:34 PM

I don't agree Chief. No ID, they go to jail. Just because they have a "legal" license doesn't mean that they'll obey the laws, be safe drivers or even carry insurance.

Trevor @ 2/23/2012 7:45 PM

A very sad day for us in LE. We already have our hands tied on traffic stops with illegals. How will this help us? Please someone help explain his reasoning. I came here from another country and I cannot see anyway inwhich his statement is going to help us the US community in any way.

Anthony Manzella @ 2/23/2012 7:57 PM

Until recently retired, I was a prosecutor of murders ordered and carried out by the Mexican Mafia. Unless the situation changes in the California statehouse, decisions like Beck's are only going to multiply throughout our state. We even have de facto sanctuary cities here.

That situation has created several problems for us Mafia prosecutors. One is that most of the street gangsters who carry out those murders for the Mafia either are illegal immigrants or were born to illegal immigrants. They often cross the border into Mexico after committing the murders, so we lose control over them. Another is that they become emboldened by what appears to them to be the power of the Mexican drug cartels and the money to be made in drug trafficking, which is the mainstay of the Mafia.

I know that LEOs like Beck think illegal immigration is harmless, but prosecutors who prosecute Mafia murders know that illegal immigration is anything but harmless.

CHRISTOPHER HAYCOX @ 2/23/2012 8:07 PM


B @ 2/23/2012 8:21 PM

If you give them a DL in one state you give them a DL in all. As we honor the DL of any state as the right to drive in all the other states.

Guillermo @ 2/23/2012 8:36 PM

The only way giving illegals a drivers license would make the roads safer is if they had to first pass a driving test, then they had to have positive proof that they have accident insurance. I usta live in So. Cal. Border area and just coming up to a 4-way stop was a high risk situation!

Jeff @ 2/23/2012 8:38 PM

Chief Charlie's reasoning is that "nothing we've done has stopped them from driving so we may as well give them licenses". What if we took that stance with drunk drivers or tweakers or robbers or murderers? The Chief isn't a cop. He's a puppet politician with Villaragosa and La Raza pulling the strings. FYI, Chief Charlie, your views are completely contrary to the troops but I know you don't care.

mike @ 2/23/2012 8:39 PM

Drivers license or not, if they want to drive, they will. If they fail the test, oh well, they still need to work, go to the market etc. Or get to & from commiting their 211, 459, etc. If we migrated ANYWHERE else in the world we'd have to learn their language & abide by their laws, including immigration ones. What made this country great is getting lost because new immigrants are not blending with our society.

john @ 2/23/2012 9:07 PM

This Chief is one of the new breed of politically correct, political suck-ups. I feel sorry for the people who have to work for this buffoon. Apparently reading comprehension is not part of the chief's exam in la-la land. Otherwise, old Chuckles the Clown might know what ILLEGAL really means. But the fact that he doesn't is no surprise- the rest of the politicians don't know the definition either.

Mark Tarte @ 2/23/2012 9:46 PM

Chief Beck is doing nothing but pandering the the "La Raza" politicos that have taken LA hostage.

Joseph @ 2/24/2012 12:16 AM

After Darryl Gates they took away the protection the chief had against being fired at will by the council.

What you're seeing is the end result of the removal of that protection.

A police chief that first wants to prevent the enforcement of the law allowing for 30 day impounds of unlicensed drivers and then says he wants to give them licenses claiming it will somehow make people safer should absolutely not be leading a LAW ENFORCEMENT agency.

His better calling might be as head of the Dept. of Social Services.

What a joke. As if that cursory exam at the DMV will somehow guarantee a safer driver.

LEONARD MCCARTHY @ 2/24/2012 1:01 AM

Gosh, I'm sorry guys but I got confused reading this article and thought that APRIL FOOLS day was here a little early.

Basically Chief Beck, you have got to kidding.

I retired from a large So. California Law Enforcement Agency nine years ago and left California as soon as found a place to live in TEXAS. Thanks for reinforcing the fact that I made the correct decision to leave.

DaveSAM25G @ 2/24/2012 2:01 AM

Mitch O'Connor does (NJ) give licenses like this? NO! Both Anthony Manzella and Robert Hall are exactly right about what they say...New Mexico has had a slew of fraud and crime relatated to DL's not from just Mexico even popular with far away places... Even US citizens do not have an inherent right to Driver's License a privledge not a right!

Logic @ 2/24/2012 3:14 AM

Lets take a breath and think about this... If they are here illegally and already drive without a license why would they study for a test they may fail and pay money to take? They benefit as it is for not being easily identified when it comes to any LE contact, accidents, tickets, arrest, etc.

Bryon @ 2/24/2012 3:18 AM

They come here illegally and break many other laws, what makes you think they will get a drivers license?? Fail!!!

Greg @ 2/24/2012 3:36 AM

"...state officials would have to find ways to address widely held concerns that offering licenses to people in the country illegally could make it easier for terrorists go undetected."

Once again, the old red herring shows up...terrorists. All those illegal aliens and terrorists. How about arresting and shipping all them home? Seems so simple. How about not releasing illegal alien felons into the general population? Especially important, dont' allow bail for any illegal alien, they won't come back and are the majority of the murderers/robbers/rapists in California.

S. ROGGENTINE @ 2/24/2012 5:06 AM



PD911 @ 2/24/2012 5:19 AM

Illegal immigration is a major law enforcement problem in this country and it's very comforting to know one of our own is attempting to make it easier for them to flourish. This chief should be deported to Mexico also.

WV Sheepdog @ 2/24/2012 5:56 AM

@Michael - THANK YOU, and I agree 100%.

@Mitch - Someone who enters the United States illegally, remains in the United States illegally, and gains employment in the United States illegally, is not going to be bothered by traffic laws, licensed or not, and how do we check that the name they are using is their real name. Safer is when ICE is allowed to its job to the full extent of the law.

STEVE @ 2/24/2012 6:00 AM


Scott @ 2/24/2012 6:13 AM

The ignorance my brothers in blue possess still amazes me.

Former Cali LEO @ 2/24/2012 6:21 AM

I read this with great disappointment but no surprise, he is no longer a COP but a Politician and the Officers he Commands and the people he is sworn to protect are the ones who suffer. And if you say well isn't he sworn to protect the Illegals too, the answer is no as they are already in violation of the Law, hence the name they are here illegally there for in violation of the laws that he is sworn to up hold. What is so hard about that to understand?
Boy am I glad I left California 16 years ago.

PJD @ 2/24/2012 8:13 AM

The chief is totally off the reservation on this one. Why any law enforcement officer would want to provide "legal" identification to people who are here in violation of the law is beside me.

kuffmup @ 2/24/2012 8:49 AM

@cleetus - the reason you don't have a job is not because Juan took it. Maybe it has to do with your inferior language and spelling skills. Just because someone is from Mexico doesn't make them illegal. I agree that the roads won't be safer. I have seen how they drive in Mexico and it is downright frightenig!

Rick @ 2/24/2012 9:06 AM

Next he'll want to give porn to rapists, burglary tools to burglars and guns to those convicted of gun crime. Surely he realizes that illegals break more than one law to get here; they are committing other crimes as they live here. Maybe he's taking the drug legalization approach, if you just legalize everything, then nothing is a crime and that money can be spent elsewhere.

Frank @ 2/24/2012 9:33 AM

Since when do you give someone who is already broken the law a Drivers License. What happened to upholding the laws of the United States? So lets not prosecute drug dealers, drunk drivers rapists? Someone with a brain please explain this rationale? Either uphold the law or lets just have anarchy like Mexico and other countries. Gee what hell did we fight in wars for! People like you scare me and frustrate the hell out of me. Your not a politician! Just do your dam job!

Sudeep Bose, Esq. @ 2/24/2012 1:04 PM

As a former police officer, I initiated deportation for several illegal aliens with ICE detainers personally - I dislike the concept of giving anyone a pass for illegal activity; however, I support the Chief's decision - it is a means to an end and logical. The licensing process provides a means to identify persons and at least ascertain basic assurance of their ability to maneuver a potentially deadly weapon - a vehicle. On the issue of safety, it is far safer to have trained and tested drivers on the roads instead of untrained, untested ones. On the issue of identification - field officers are at the mercy of the detained/suspected person's willingness to provide accurate name and identifiers. I personally hated this. If the suspect was stopped and lying to me, it was difficult to ascertain the truth of their identity - I couldn't run accurate NCIC and couldn't check for open detainers. Sure, we could arrest each person unwilling/unable to provide their identity, fingerprint them, etc...but get real! People espousing this approach have no police experience or are living in a world with many officers with little to do. In the real world, once we have a baseline for identity and individual record keeping, we have a process for actively enforcing traffic laws, immigration and criminal laws. The license is the baseline identifier of the person and from it stems an easier path to real-life enforcement of our current laws.

Don @ 2/24/2012 1:10 PM

Mitch, IF you give an illegal the opportunity to obtain a driver's license, that has no bearing at all on their driving ability. They don't respect the laws, so expecting them to obey the law is a bit of a dichotomy. I had considerably more words to say about this, but it would fall on deaf ears. They historically run after accidents, whether licensed or not, because they won't take responsibility.

GANGWISE @ 2/24/2012 1:27 PM

Here in Illinois we are seeing some interesting things regarding Hispanic surnames. Local LE has seen a recent upsurge of Hispanics who have previous arrests / convictions for traffic violations, i.e. DUI, DWLR, DWLS going to the Illinois Secretary of State office and being issued new driver’s licenses. I’m guessing this has been going on for some time, so may be old news to some of you.

Here’s how it works:

Say a person has the name, Joseph Delgado-Ramirez, and under the name Joseph Ramirez, has a number of traffic offenses, and as a result his license has been suspended or revoked.

That person then goes to the Secretary of State’s office with addressed mail, and other forms of ID bearing his mother’s maiden name, Delgado. He is then issued a new drivers license under the name Joseph Delgado. At that point he is given a “clean slate”, with no previous arrest history noted.

Some birth certificates have multiple surnames. We have seen this time and again at Pretrial, with individuals using their mother’s maiden name.

Food for thought… …Steve

Robert Hall @ 2/24/2012 1:35 PM

To the NJ Officer- I know that it is the job for ICE to enforce the immigration laws. Which we all know they are not so why should we cater illigals? It will not be long until illigals show up in NJ if states issue them drivers license they will be able to go any where in our country. When you have to deal with them as a officer I thank you attitude will change. I do not know how someone figures that giving illegals driver license will make our roads safer! Bottom line they are here illegally and are breaking the law! If you break the law you will end up in court, they can break the law and nothing happens to them do you think that is right, I don't!!!! Go to Mexico illegally and see what happens, you will not be able to get a driver's license when and if you get out of jail!!

martyb @ 2/24/2012 3:36 PM

Charlie Beck & Lee Bacca are just closeted left wing liberal political pogues. I can see Beck needing to bend to the LA City Council because he's in an appointed position. But Bacca is an elected official. He's got to answer to all the folks in LA county in order to keep his job.

Just because you issue them a license doesn't mean they are either safe, capable or insured (for very long anyway). Just look at all the forgein semi truck drivers and the number of wrecks they have.

HANK HILL @ 2/24/2012 7:20 PM


RetMarE7 @ 2/24/2012 8:41 PM

Seriously?? Who is swallowing this bullshit?? It is NOTHING more than liberals trying to get future votes. Beck is a spineless coward who is violating his oath every time he backs some measure to empower criminals who are here in violation of our laws. He should be charged with ethics violations. But then again, he is only a lackey ass kisser of the liberal government we have today. I'd be interested to know if he ever had ethics or was he a dirty cop who slipped through the cracks? Let's just call a spade a spade. It is so transparent it's ridiculous.

Retired @ 2/24/2012 8:42 PM

Hey LAPD Chief Charlie Bunghole, What do you think about giving a license to an illegal that was a drunk driver that killed to innocent girls while they were sitting at a stoplight in Va beach VA? Do you condone driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs too? Bad idea. :(

DaveSAM25G @ 2/24/2012 9:09 PM

One drop in a very large bucket which is leaking all over the USA.
Pole admits guilt in alien license scam
Updated: Friday, 24 Feb 2012, 1:58 PM MST
Published : Friday, 24 Feb 2012, 1:58 PM MST
• Bill Diven
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A Polish national has pleaded guilty to a federal felony for his role in transporting illegal aliens to New Mexico to obtain fraudulent driver's licenses.
Pawel Skladnik, 38, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Skladnik and co-defendant Lukasz Koslik, 28, were both indicted on conspiracy charges involving false documents and transporting illegal aliens from March through July 2011.
The indictment alleged an unnamed co-conspirator arranged transportation and that Koslik and the co-conspirator provided the false documents.
Skladnik admitted he joined in the conspiracy to bring the aliens to New Mexico and got them to and from Motor Vehicle Division offices.
He also handled newspaper and online advertising for the scheme and trained others in how to obtain false documents, prosecutor said.
Skladnik pleaded guilty Thursday to the transportation charge and remains in custody. Koslik has not been arrested and is considered a fugitive.
The investigation was handled by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted in Albuquerque by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shammara Henderson and Norman Cairns.

Jim @ 2/25/2012 6:28 AM

NO! I am ashamed that the Chief of Police of such a great City as Los Angles is stooping so low as to give law breakers, the illegal immigrants, legitimacy! How about we give them business licenses, permits, and all the other things that people who have not broken the law have. I know, let's allow those who are habitual DUI's and everyone caught with a DUI the right to immediately get or keep their license after all, it will help identify them! Insanity!

D Wakeley @ 2/26/2012 11:06 AM

The truth is leadership comes from the top. We have an illegal immigrant as Commander in Chief. We won't get rid of them till he leaves office. I'd like one person to tell me one good thing he's done for the country since he's been in office? The truth is our system of government is taxed! Let's quit spending money in other countries and worry about the state of things here for a change.

Jim VG @ 2/26/2012 11:27 AM

How much are they paying this idiot to say this. He's a friggin tool.

Fed Cop @ 2/27/2012 8:07 AM

What licensing illegals does in California is increase the voter base. Once you have a California Driver's License, you're registered to vote. So now, with the driver's licenses, "free" medical treatment at all medical centers, welfare and food stamps, and "in state" tuition for illegals, what's the point of doing anything legally?

Chuck McKinley @ 2/27/2012 2:22 PM

Chief, what laws do we ignore next? Meth? Marijuana? Cocaine? Do we just start giving licenses based on a persons word? We need to wake up and enforce the law. If we demanded it ICE and the Federal Government would enforce what we demanded. They work for us or the can be replaced!

Protecting our borders @ 2/27/2012 6:06 PM

During the 80's 3 federal and 2 county agencies tried to help the stem of illegal aliens crossing the two ports of entry in New Mexico. End result was approximately 3500 aliens detained per month with 19% returning back into the US with a week. The governments thinks there is approximately 14 million illegals in the county. Guess again. No drivers license's to illegal alliens. Return to their countries. Get a license there. Come here only if you are not illegal.

Protecting our borders @ 2/27/2012 6:17 PM

Ex- Sheriff Hall knows what it takes to be a Sheriff on the border. The chiefs that make it ease for a person with illegal status in the US does not need a US drivers license. They need legal status first! If the US government does not know how to fix the problems about illegal alliens, talk to our first responders at our ports of entry. They along with our Sheriff's can fix the problem. I know. I was there.

MIKE @ 2/29/2012 2:51 AM

i would pay a fee annually to have a drivers license if i have too.i pay taxes, ive been driving withought one for 5 years havent been involved in no accidents am paying off an american car i purchased my life would be so much easier going to work and school knowing i dont have to be going around the checkpoints. i follow the same rules as anyone else in the streets why can i get a chance to take that test and get a drivers license.

Tom Ret @ 3/1/2012 3:22 PM

The chief is bending to the politically correct nonsense that is going on today.

Alejandra @ 3/2/2012 12:16 PM

I have to applaud this stance from the LAPD Department. DLs not only keep us in the loop o fwho lives in our neighborhood, but also it's a matter of

1 Economy: licensed driver's buy newwer cars. This is a fact.

2. Safety: licensed drivers can register and get their cars insured, so next time we are in an accident, we don't have to use our uninsured motorist policy.

3. It's a matter of being human: these people are our neighbors, friends, and part of a bigger family. They live here, why would we seggregate them like we did with African Americans before?

Come on!

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