Illegal immigrants may soon be able to apply for professional licenses in California, even though they entered the country illegally and do not possess a Social Security number. A group of lawmakers in the state is pushing a bill which would allow the issuance of licenses for doctors, nurses, security guards, dentists, barbers, and virtually every other type of professional credential offered at the state level, to individuals who arrived in the country without following federal law.
California elected officials sworn to uphold the law, were reportedly moved by the story of Denisse Rojas. She earned a biology degree from UC Berkeley and wants to go to medical school, but since she does not have a Social Security card to prove her identity, she could never secure a license to practice medicine in the state.
Denisse Rojas, 25, was smuggled illegally into the United States from Mexico with her parents when she was a baby. According to Rojas, she garnered taxpayer funded financial aid during her last semester at UK Berkeley. California’s Dream Act permitted the college funding option.
The California illegal immigrant who has become the poster child for the professional licensure bill had this to say about the issue:
“We believe that by removing the barriers that we face in obtaining professional licensing, we will be able to reach our full potential.”
The Los Angeles Times noted that California leads the nation in legislation and efforts designed to “integrate immigrants living here illegally” by providing deportation protection for “minor crimes,” driver’s licenses, and university scholarships. The workforce in the state is reportedly comprised of 1.85 million illegal immigrants, according to estimates compiled by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee President William Gheen had this to say about the California professional licensure for illegal immigrants bill:
“It’s insane. By granting licenses to illegal immigrants you both aid and abet illegal immigration, which is a violation of federal law, and you are sending a message to the rest of planet Earth that says, ‘Come on!'”
Democratic California Senator Ricardo Lara has proposed easing the licensure process for pharmacists and psychologists, in addition to other healthcare and service professionals, such as real estate agents. Senate Bill 1159 passed the California State Senate late last week. If approved by the entire legislative body, approximately 40 state boards would be ordered to accept a federal taxpayer identification number as proof of identity instead of a Social Security card.
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[Image Via: Istockphoto/Bing]