WEATHER »

Stop the Impound Madness


Friday, June 21, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Comments
Share Article

On any given day, Carmen drives her ‘80s Honda Civic to work in the city of Santa Barbara, leaving her 2002 white Expedition to rest at home. Many can’t understand why she would leave her nice vehicle behind – some suggest it is the increasing gas prices – but in reality, she is an undocumented worker in the United States.

In 1992, along with her sister Marilu, Carmen crossed the border and now resides in Santa Barbara. Ever since, Carmen has been unable to drive with ease of mind because of the fear that her car will be towed and she will have to pay a hefty fine of $2,300 for driving without a license. Ironically, the same state that prohibits her from owning a license and driving, taxes her regardless of legal status: insurance, vehicle smog checks, annual registration fees, etc. This is the reality not for Carmen but for the undocumented immigrant community as a whole in California.

Historical Perspective: During the 1994 California governor elections, Pete Wilson ran one of the most xenophobic campaigns ever witnessed. At the time, California was going through an economic recession, and he ran on a bill once considered the solution to California’s economic problems: Proposition 187. Its provisions limited and, in some cases, banned social services to undocumented immigrants in the state, including health and school for children. Fortunately, the proposition was struck down by California Supreme Court. Wilson was able to push one of the Prop. 187 platforms, though: Ban the ability of undocumented immigrants to apply for a California Driver License. Ever since, undocumented immigrants have driven without licenses – fearing that any given day their vehicle will be taken.

City of Santa Barbara: The City of Santa Barbara imposes some of the harshest fines for those driving without a license. Those who are caught without a license have to pay $30 per day for 30 days plus additional administrative fees imposed by the city police department, for a total of about $2,300. This is a great hardship for anyone living on minimum wage – or even on a “living wage.”

The Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) goes to an unnecessary extreme with their policy – stating that unlicensed drivers will have their cars impounded, whether they are pulled over as individuals (even for the smallest of things) or at DUI checkpoints. Their policy sounds simple: “No license, no car, no exception,” yet fails to acknowledge that immigrant communities are unfairly affected. The Chief of Police, Cameron Sanchez, has not made efforts to improve the current conditions, but has expanded DUI searches around the city of Santa Barbara. Noozhawk.com stated that the purpose of DUI checkpoints “was not only to detect and arrest drivers under the influence of alcohol and or drugs, but also to locate drivers who are unlicensed or suspended.”

A UC Berkeley Study cited by the Santa Barbara nonprofit Pueblo found that most of the administrative fees incurred through the impounding process were actually allocated to pay for police overtime. You might think most of these checkpoints are set up randomly across the city. However, Pueblo’s extensive research has shown that most of these checkpoints happen within striking distance of high hospitality-service areas and or immigrant communities in the city.

Russell, writer of the Pueblo report, writes that these checkpoints are meant to prevent drunk driving, but most of the tickets given out are for unlicensed undocumented drivers. These actions lead the undocumented immigrant community to believe that SBDP does not support the immigrant community and that it indeed targets immigrant communities.

For Carmen and many others, going to work, family gatherings, or even grocery shopping are risks that may end with a $2,300 fine for driving without a license. A fine that exceeds a monthly income doesn’t just hurt but injures a family financially. SBDP should not be punishing undocumented immigrant families. The police should be working together with immigrant communities to tackle problems within their jurisdiction.

LAPD Solution: The Los Angeles Police Department recently changed its policy toward car impoundments of undocumented immigrants: If a person is caught without a license, the person has the opportunity to call a relative or friend with a license, without having the car impounded and incurring the fees. Further, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. County’s Sheriff Lee Baca have both come out in support of drivers’ licenses for undocumented students.

The SBPD should make a case for easing the fines and impoundments on undocumented immigrants’ cars.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Keep The Sane Impound Policy.
Now PUEBLO is an icon of scientific research? Wow!
Those "racially based" checkpoints are near high hospitality areas? You mean the areas where people actually drink alcohol? How racist! The should instead put these checkpoints where there are no bars and maybe then illegal aliens would not get busted.
Interesting Eder, how come you are not arguing against the impounding of cars of legal U.S. citizens without a license or the means to pay the fine? Perhaps then you would not come off as a garden variety bigot incapable of objective thinking and would stop intentionally confusing illegal aliens with legal immigrants.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 11:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The illegality of a human existing on a spot on the earth is a con-cept that is not going to help humans in the long view. Short sighted, people need glasses.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Boo Hoo. Let's hope ICE finds Carmen and sends her back to her native country before she kills or injures someone with her uninsured car.

banjo (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Insurance: another societal con.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As someone who spent a considerable amount of time and money navigating the US immigration system to legally join my spouse here, my sympathy for an illegal immigrant having her likely uninsured vehicle impounded while driving illegally to her illegal employment is minimal frankly.

I have plenty of sympathy for undocumented children who had no choice in how they got here and there should be something in place to assist in that, but the person in the article just seems like a regular 'queue-jumper' who decided the law didn't apply to her when immigrating and apparently continues to proceed as if the law doesn't apply to her judging by her disregard of the licence and insurance requirements for driving a vehicle on the public roads.

RichL (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Chicken meets egg. One cannot get car insurance without a driver's license. One cannot get a driver's license when they are undocumented. If we want cheap labor we should encourage licensing and insurance for everyone that drives with or without papers. When was the last time that you saw or heard about a DUI checkpoint in Montecito? One on Channel Drive or perhaps Coast Village would yield dozens of well healed drunks. Oh wait, too rich too powerful. It is much easier for Cam and Brown to go after the poor loser drunks and the automotive undocumented.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ABA 353, allowing unlicensed drivers time to locate a licensed driver to drive their vehicle to avoid impound, has been in effect since January 1, 2012. If SBPD doesn't acknowledge this, they're violating California law (hard to believe, huh?). I don't know if there's a maximum fine/day for driving without a license, but California vehicle code is the law, not the City of Santa Barbara.
"California Watch and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley reported early last year that police across the state impounded six cars for every one DUI arrest in 2009 at sobriety checkpoints. Those vehicle seizures brought cities and tow firms an estimated $40 million in revenue."
October 11, 2011 | Ryan Gabrielson
Off topic, but DUI checkpoints pay LE overtime, and aren't effective at keeping drunk drivers off the road relative to saturation patrols around bar areas.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who cares about whether it is fair or not? I care about whether it is safe or not. You can't tell me that forcing people to drive without a license (and they will drive regardless) makes streets safer for the rest of us.

The impounding thing is another issue. It is obvious that the PD is just taking advantage of a potential revenue source; just like street sweeping fines.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People that are in this country illegally shouldn't even be here, much less drive here. Support the impounding of vehicles operated by unlicensed drivers and support the federal Secure Communities program.

Botany (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's a camel toe in the tent argument Spiritwalker.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My 2 cents worth, at 1 cent per each of my comments.

If the laws apply to one group of people, they should apply to all others. No special treatment if you come in illegally.

Second comment: I hear what the author is saying. The cost of insurance and penalties for not having insurance is ridiculous. It IS about government taking as much as they can from people who have already been bled dry, and that included all of us who are working-class. (I dread my car insurance bill and I haven't had a ticket since 1989 and never and a ticket for anything serious)

H_Greenspan makes good points as well. The powers-that-be want them here, but don't want them to have basic rights.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 3:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

CONTINUE THE IMPOUND SANITY

On any given day Carmen and other people like her drive and kill 20 people in the United States. Of the 7200 deaths about 4,000 are killed by illegal aliens driving without a license. They kill at a rate 5X’s higher than licensed drivers. They drive drunk at a rate 5X’s higher than licensed drivers. And they hit and run 10x’s more than licensed drivers. (Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)

While Carmen fears that she may get caught and have to pay $2300 to get her car back I would pay anything to get my son back who was killed by an illegal alien driving without a license in November 2010. Carmen, you share some responsibility for his death and the over 75,000 killed since you illegally arrived. This is a reality for the millions of people who have lost loved ones thanks to Carmen and the illegal alien community.

If I visit any civilized country in the world I pay whatever taxes they have that apply and it does not grant me any legal status to remain there. And unlike this “civilized country” if I snuck in or overstayed my visa they actually make me leave regardless of whatever taxes I’ve paid. Carmen, if you don’t want to pay those taxes I guarantee you that no one will stop you if you want to go home.

Regardless of the reasons for Prop 187 with the exception of a few years in the late 90’s because of the dot.com boom the state has been a financial disaster. Not all because of illegal immigration but that has certainly been a major contributor to our perpetual deficits despite some of the highest taxes in the nation.

The Santa Barbara Police are not going to an unnecessary extreme. They are following the law. Driving without a license is never the smallest of things. Because the Santa Barbara Police are enforcing the law and trying to protect everyone you think they are not supporting the community. In fact Hispanics are killed at a disproportionately higher rate than the rest of the population. By the way someone who is in the country illegally is no more a part of the community than the person who breaks into your house becomes a member of the family.

The Office of Traffic and Safety is responsible for DUI Checkpoints throughout the state. One of the rules is that they need to be set in areas that have a high incidence of drunk drivers. In almost every incidence they catch more unlicensed drivers than they do drunk drivers. I have been stopped multiple times recently in Agoura Hills and Malibu. Hardly areas with many (if any) illegal aliens.

END PART 1

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 4:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

CONTINUE THE IMPOUND SANITY

Part 2

For over 4,000 people a year, going to work, family gatherings or even grocery shopping are risks that may end with them never returning because Carmen and her ilk have decided that the laws don’t apply to them. The SBDP are doing the right thing by enforcing the law regardless of immigration status.

As to the LAPD Solution you should check the results before you praise the policy. First, the policy is being challenged in court. Local police do not have the authority to change state driving laws. Regardless of that let’s look at the results. The policy went into effect at the end of last April. Impounds were down 39% through the end of the year. Fatalities and serious injuries were up 7%. Over 40% of all collisions in Los Angeles are hit and runs. Is that what you are suggesting for Santa Barbara?

You want to read about a real tragedy. Go to www.unlicensedtokill.org

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 4:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I do not support unlicensed drivers regardless of any circumstance outside of a life or death emergency.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In Utah, that bastion of leftist ideas, the undocumented can obtain driver's licenses. Why? Because it makes sense.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Unfortunately DonR has his facts straight about the statistics and illegality of the lovely experiment in Los Angeles.
I too went through the crappy, costly, and arduous immigration process.
Sorry Herschel, you can get car insurance without a license; but the truth about that urban legend also dispels the stupidity of acting as though illegal aliens are not just that.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 5:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DonR,
I appreciate the pain caused by the death of your son by an unlicensed driver. There are also thousands of proud US citizens driving around with suspended or revoked licenses due to DUIs and other violations. Would you feel better if an American caused your son's death? To suggest that Carmen has some responsibility for your son's death is a sad commentary on your lack of grief management.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 5:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Italiansurg,
bzzzt WRONG. Without a valid driver's license you cannot get liability insurance. Without liability insurance you can be cited for violating the California vehicle code. You can get comprehensive insurance for a car without a license, but that covers damage to the car. To most people insurance for a car that you cannot operate on the public roads ( that is without liability) is worthless just like you urban myth b.s.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 5:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You can in fact get liability insurance my friend, there are quite a few illegals that do carry it because they actually care about living in this country. Call one of the cheap agencies on Milpas and they will write a policy. Further, at least you admit now that you can also get insurance on the car itself; a far cry from your first lie about insurance.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 5:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

surg,
You are being dishonest. The insurance you are referring to is liability insurance that covers the car if it is being operated by a licensed driver! The undocumented cannot get a license.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 6:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We need to set certain standards or nobody will be alive to drive with or without a license.
I look at many new immigrants (documented or not) from Mexico as war refugees.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 6:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Herschel,

While I appreciate your appreciation of my pain as with drivers licenses in Utah and liability insurance for unlicensed drivers and anger management you know nothing of what you speak.

First, illegal aliens cannot get a driver’s licenses in Utah. What they get is called a driver privilege card which is good for one year. Illegal aliens can get a driver’s license in New Mexico. Like what is happening in California the promise was once they were licensed they would be safer drivers and they would get insurance. Sounds like it makes sense. What happened in New Mexico was fatalities increased for the next four years, collisions increased, speeding increased and the number of uninsured went from 26% to 29%. On top of all that is the program has been fraught with massive fraud. I literally just received driving statistics for Utah this week so I haven’t had a chance to read through all of the data but I can tell you the results will not be good. Over 75% of the fatalities caused by unlicensed drivers fall into the following categories. Forty-eight percent are drunk compared to twenty percent for the rest of the population. The next 35% of fatalities are from running stop signs, running red lights and speeding. Of course because they hit and run so often many of the fatalities have no reason given.A 10 year old knows that you can’t do that. Getting a driver’s license will not stop that behavior. I suggest that you go to my web site www.unlicensedtokill.org where you can read the report I sent to the assembly transportation committee and my verbal testimony that I gave in front of the committee hearing on April 22. You can also view a video of the hearing.

End Part One

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 9:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Part Two

Second, you absolutely can get liability insurance without a driver’s license. The major companies, State Farm, All State, etc. won’t write policies but the scumbag companies will. The guy who killed my son drove without insurance for years but when he killed my son he had a policy with Alliance. Too long to explain here but again go to my web site and you can read the whole story. California has no law about this one way or the other but my feeling and many attorneys I have spoken with believe that is not only illegal but a RICO violation. The theory being that regardless of any state or federal law it is illegal to sell a product that you know will be used for illegal purposes. In most cases products have many uses (like the nitrogen used in the Oklahoma bombing) but insuring an unlicensed driver has only one purpose. If you email me from the web site I will be happy to send you the documents.

Third, there are actually millions of US citizens driving even though their license has been suspended or revoked and their driving records are as atrocious as unlicensed drivers. Their cars are also under the same impound laws except that they are not protected under Gil Cedillo’s AB 353 which stops impounding cars caught at sobriety checkpoints and they are not protected under Beck’s Special Order 7 in Los Angeles. I’m certainly not defending their actions but doesn’t it strike you as absurd that illegal aliens are protected and US citizens are not? I’ve been told by many police and DA’s that they go easy on these people because they do nothing to those here illegally that drive.

Finally, would I feel better if an American had killed my son? No, of course not. But I would feel better if it was truly an accident that couldn’t have been avoided. No matter how good a driver we may be accidents do happen. When unlicensed drivers get behind the wheel nothing they do thereafter is an accident. Roberto Galo didn’t accidently buy a car. He didn’t accidently register the car (without insurance mind you). When he was caught the first time (more about that in a minute) he committed fraud to get his car back which was certainly not an accident. Then he continued to drive until he killed my son. Did he want to kill him? No. I’m sure that was the last thing he wanted to do that day. He was in the country under a program called Temporary Protective Status which means he could have gotten a license (although he originally entered the country illegally). He failed his test the first two times he took it before he was caught and then failed again before he killed my son. And that is how Carmen and her responsibility come into play.

End Part Two

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 9:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Part Three

In most of California the law against unlicensed drivers is no longer enforced. Santa Barbara is a rare exception. Why is it not enforced? Because Carmen and about another 1.2 million regularly flaunt the law and they and illegal alien rights groups have put tremendous pressure on politicians, local police and city and district attorney’s to ignore the law. Galo was caught driving the wrong way on a one way street, no license and no insurance a few months before he killed my son. As they did in San Francisco starting in November 2009 the charges of driving without a license and driving without insurance were dropped. Los Angeles and San Francisco NEVER prosecute unlicensed drivers unless they’ve killed someone and not always then. Many other California cities don’t prosecute either. Ventura County issues a citation (which is not legal under California law). Most of the tickets are never paid as illegal aliens usually give fake names and fake addresses. (There are over 1 million open warrants in Los Angeles alone.)

If Carmen and most illegal aliens obeyed the law, at least as it pertains to driving, those who break the law would not be given a pass. Do you think if Carmen was caught and her car impounded she wouldn’t be out the next day driving the Expedition? San Francisco never even checked to see if Galo had ever tried to get a license even though he showed them a California ID which means he could have gotten a license. They did what is followed in most of California hundreds of times every day. Hispanic, no license, no problem. They are given a pass for one reason. Votes! My son and hundreds of others die every year in California because our corrupt politicians want to be re-elected and then as was the case with Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris run for statewide office.

Now I’m sure Hershel you will call me a bigot. Well if I am a bigot so is the truth.

BTW, I happen to be a very far left liberal.

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 9:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are so many many untruths in the comments I don't even know where to start.
1. Unlicensed drivers can, and most do, get car insurance
2. AB 353 prohibits car impoundment for unlicensed driving only at checkpoints. This is because police departments throughout California were found to be conducting checkpoints in areas with high immigrant populations in order to increase revenue, as opposed to stopping drunk driving. The bill was passed to discourage this practice.
3. The study which stares unlicensed drivers cause more collisions is correct. The data is based on unlicensed drivers, not " illegal alien" drivers. It includes people who have had their licenses suspended for DUI or wreckless driving as well as youth who have not yet been issued a license. Of course they found higher collision rates among that group.
4. If the person who killed DonR's son had temporary protected status, he had permission to be in the US and was fully documented. He was eligible for a driver's license.

sbs124 (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 1:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Then the statistics indicate that unlicensed drivers should NOT be on the road. They should have their vehicles impounded as a matter of safety.

Botany (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 6:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany, and most people here are referring to unlicensed drivers as one group. In reality, and legally, there are two groups. One is unlicensed (never issued a license or license expired). Two is suspended or revoked license (due to DUI, wreckless driving, etc.)
AB 353 only applies to unlicensed drivers, if you are driving on a suspended license you will still have your car impounded even at checkpoints. There are separate vehicle codes and consequences for driving without a license and for driving on a suspended license. The study that was quoted above, I think called unlicensed to kill, misconstrues the facts because it combines data from people driving without a license and people driving on a suspended license (two distinct groups) and calls them both "unlicensed".
But yes, I do believe it would be safer if everyone living in California could apply for a driver's license. And yes, I believe people people driving on a suspended license should have their car impounded. Their license was suspended for safety reasons. Immigrants are no longer eligible for licenses in California due to xenophobia. Big difference.

sbs124 (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 9:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Immigrants are no longer eligible for licenses in California due to xenophobia. Big difference."

Completely false, my wife is an immigrant and she has a California driver's license. So much for xenophobia.

Besides that, your logic is crazy. What you are telling people is that they're better off not applying for a driver's license because then they won't have to worry about it being suspended. If you've never had a driver's license, you can't possibly have a suspended license, or can you? So why not just have everyone drive around unlicensed?

Botany (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 10:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

sbs124, you state, “There are so many many untruths in the comments I don't even know where to start.” Start with the facts.

1. sbs124 Unlicensed drivers can, and most do, get car insurance.

The first part is correct. Anyone, can be covered with insurance. However, most (unlicensed) do not get insurance. While there are no specific statistics police at sobriety checkpoints and those on traffic duty have said that less than 20% have insurance. LAPD Chief Beck told me that his estimate was that 25% had insurance. Considering he wants to allow them to drive if anything he would lie high, not low. Even those numbers are probably high because many times the driver does not own the car and the owner is insured but the driver is not. Many of those policies will not pay if the driver is in a collision.

2. sbs124 AB 353 prohibits car impoundment for unlicensed driving only at checkpoints. This is because police departments throughout California were found to be conducting checkpoints in areas with high immigrant populations in order to increase revenue, as opposed to stopping drunk driving. The bill was passed to discourage this practice.

That was what Cedillo said but that was not the truth. Your first sentence is accurate. The rest is wrong. The city of Bell was extremely zealous in enforcing the unlicensed driving law. Nothing wrong with that. In fact considering how deadly these people are it should be encouraged. The problem that Bell had was that they were using the money to enrich the city manager and the staff. The Office of Traffic and Safety (OTS) pays for sobriety checkpoints through grants from the NHTSA. They are administered by the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center. In 2010 over 2600 sobriety checkpoints were funded by the OTS. Despite Cedillo’s claim that these checkpoints were set up to catch people taking their kids to school and going to work checkpoints cannot be set up prior to 6:00 PM unless there is an event like a football game where there is lots of drinking. And even then the OTC must approve it. Of the 2600 checkpoints the number in Hispanic neighborhoods was actually less than the percentage of Hispanics in California.

Cities can fund their own sobriety checkpoints. In 2010 the OTC surveyed all of the police and sheriff departments and found (I don’t remember the exact number) about 100 sobriety checkpoints were done independently. None were done in Cedillo’s district.

The bill was not passed to discourage any practice. The bill was passed to make it easier and cheaper to drive. At the hearing for this bill which I testified in opposition Cedillo made one lie after another. I researched all his claims and could find nothing to substantiate them. I wrote to Dan Johnson his chief of staff and asked him to provide some documentation. Needless to say he never responded to either of my emails. If you write me from my web site www.unlicensedtokill.org I will be happy to send you the emails.

End Part 1

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 4:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Part 2

3.sbs124 The study which stares unlicensed drivers cause more collisions is correct. The data is based on unlicensed drivers, not " illegal alien" drivers. It includes people who have had their licenses suspended for DUI or wreckless driving as well as youth who have not yet been issued a license. Of course they found higher collision rates among that group

The DMV study from Dec 2012 and the AAA study from November 2011 both separate unlicensed drivers (never had a license) from those whose licenses have been suspended or revoked (S/R). According to a report from the FBI and DHS 97% of all unlicensed drivers in California are illegal aliens. The statistics are pretty similar between the two groups but in one of the reports they go out of their way to mention that those who have never had a license are actually worse drivers.

4.sbs124 If the person who killed DonR's son had temporary protected status, he had permission to be in the US and was fully documented. He was eligible for a driver's license.

The person (Roberto Galo) who killed my son entered the country illegally in 1998. When Honduras was granted TPS on January 5, 1999 sometime thereafter he applied and was granted TPS. That did give him the right to apply for a driver’s license which he did. Prior to getting caught driving without a license in June 2010 he had failed the test twice. He was a perfect example of how illegal aliens impacted policy which resulted in a death. Because of San Francisco’s policy that illegal people can do no wrong starting in November 2009 they stopped impounding cars of unlicensed drivers. They already weren’t prosecuting them. Because he was Hispanic, couldn’t speak English and didn’t have a license the charges were dropped and he kept driving. He actually failed the test a third time before he killed my son. Believe me I blame Gavin Newsom, George Gascón and Kamala Harris for my son’s death more than Roberto Galo. That said TPS for Honduras has no been renewed again, through May 2015. I don’t consider 16 years temporary but it sure is protective.

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 4:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DonR, I am sorry for your loss. It must be incredibly painful to lose a child. We may not agree on some points but I commend you for doing what you think is right. In the end I think most people fight for what they think is right and fair. We may not always agree on what is right and fair but in your situation I understand why you take the position you do. Peace.

sbs124 (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

sbs124 – You are correct that many people refer to unlicensed drivers and those driving on suspended or revoked licenses (S/R) as one in the same. You are also correct that AB 353 only applied to unlicensed (97% illegal aliens). However, there are not separate vehicle codes for unlicensed and S/R drivers. These three vehicle codes cover both categories. VC Section 14602.6, 14607.4 and 14607.6. The only difference is the impact of AB 353.

I am unlicensedtokill and I did not misconstrue the facts. As I mentioned above the CA DMV report released in Dec 2012 and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report released in November 2011 both separate the data. The total number killed by both groups is around 7,200 a year. The unlicensed portion is about 4,000. I’ve found through “Public Records Requests” that those numbers are actually understated at least as they apply to California because many jurisdictions like San Francisco do not report license status so the man who killed my son is recorded as a licensed driver both in SWITERS and FARS (the CA and Federal traffic databases).

The California DMV study contained data from 1987. From 1987 through 1993 illegal aliens could and did get drivers licenses. The report twice mentions how bad as drivers they were even when they had licenses.

Xenophobia is defined as an unreasonable fear of foreigners. Considering the driving records of illegal aliens I would say at least as it pertains to driving that fear is certainly justified.

DonR (anonymous profile)
June 22, 2013 at 5:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

just think, since more Americans are killed by cars than terrorism, we could have spent all that 'terror money' on public transport instead of wars. I'm sure the 'illegals' would be much more happy taking the train instead of risking so much on driving. Heck, we all would benefit with trains running up and down the coast and better innercity transport. Alas, we love to see corporations eat up another country's resources and make profits off of us instead, all the while building NSA headquarters for billions. Since Snowden has been labeled criminal by the US government, what does that make the US Gov? A big fat hippo is what.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 5:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This letter is a joke, right? Right?

You can't be serious that any sympathy is given to or any laws/ordinances should be changed to *accommodate lawbreakers to continue to break the law* by *being in the country illegally*, right?

So this is a joke. Clearly.

There is a reason people try to get to the U.S. from Mexico > Mexico is a semi-failed socialist nation with endemic corruption (100x that of U.S.) and a population that does almost nothing to change that - so they all want to come here - and not be fined for not having a license while they break our laws by being here in the first place.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 8:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My car has been hit twice by unlicensed and uninsured drivers; both times, the unlicensed driver was breaking other traffic laws - i.e., they did not know HOW to drive. One ran a red light.
Whatever your political beliefs, remember that drivers must pass a test to get a drivers license. If they don't have a license, they don't have to show that they can drive safely and understand the vehicle code, and this is bad for all of us. I would rather the cars were impounded than used as lethal weapons outside the law.

SB_Mom (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 1:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All of these arguments about their status here completely ignore the reality that they are here and they do drive. Now that we have those two reality grounded facts on the table let's answer a simple question: Is it safer for them to drive with or without the proper training and credentials?

By the way, one cannot have illegal staus in this country. One can only come into or exit the country illegally. So really the entire law itself based on a false legal premis.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a license can't afford a car, or insurance but everytime I have had a vehicle I always made sure I was legal, license, insurance etc. If I wasn't I understood that if I got pulled over I would lose my car. BULL MANURE to all this wrist slappin for some but not for others. I would not be in this country illegally I'd be in my own country legally just the way I am. Don't like looking over my shoulder. I say keep it up SBPD and SBSO and Thank You for being fair to everyone.

Byrd (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 6:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A more honest and accurate start to this article is here:

On any given day, Carmen wakes up, realizes that again she is breaking federal law by choosing to be here illegally and drives her ‘80s Honda Civic to work in the city of Santa Barbara, leaving her 2002 white Expedition to rest at home. Many can’t understand why she would knowingly continue to break the law, day after day and not leave her nice vehicle to a charity that supports families suffering from illegal drivers maiming or killing American citizens – some suggest it is the increasing it is a total lack of self control and a denial of doing what is right by respecting the laws of the country she broke into – but in reality, she selfish and unwilling to do the hard work to make her home country a better place.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 7:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear Eder -

I saw your Santa Barbara Independent letter re: auto impound issues for undocumented workers.

I have some sincere questions:

1. Why should American citizens grant any rights, privileges or non-emergency assistance to a person (the woman described in your letter) who is knowingly in the country illegally, breaking the law every day? Why does a lawbreaker (regardless of how she started to break the law or why) deserve sympathy and support?

2. Why do you use the term "undocumented" instead of "illegal" when the act of being in the country without the correct legal documents is in fact illegal? What is the purpose of using this euphemistic term of "undocumented"?

3. Why are advocates like yourself, who try to help illegal (or your term "undocumented") people referred to by many as "immigration advocates" when in fact you are actually advocating for illegal (or your term "undocumented") immigrants? What is the reason you and others do not use the phrase "...he continues to advocate for the illegal immigrant youth movement" or "...he continues to advocate for the undocumented immigrant youth movement". Don't you agree that leaving out "illegal" or "undocumented" generalizes what you are doing and is misleading to the reader?

4. What are your thoughts about moving to Mexico and helping that country shift away from socialism (which has massively failed the Mexican people) and move toward capitalism (which has massively improved the American people's and the worlds standard of living)? Or moving to Mexico to help fix the judicial system or the corrupt (and militant and ineffective) teachers unions or the highly corrupt political system of patronage?

Can you explain the above without freaking out and calling me a racist Nazi like most lib-dems and politically correct college students and their professors?

Thanks

willy88 (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 1:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Regardless of other issues mentioned in comments, AB 353 prohibits impound of vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers at DUI checkpoints if the driver's only offense is not having a driver's license. The City of Santa Barbara has a policy of intentionally violating this law, according to Scam Sanchez's statement.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 2, 2013 at 4:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Vaud and the Villains

This 19 piece 1930s New Orleans orchestra and cabaret will ... Read More