Professional Licenses For Undocumented

It takes courage to be an illegal immigrant, not only to brave the journey but then to live with whatever one has to do to avoid discovery, not to speak of the accompanying fear. When I read that those in the US illegally could apply for a driver’s license in California, I wondered if I’d have the courage if I were an undocumented immigrant. It’s hard enough to be an immigrant, being undocumented would make it daunting. According to a recent L A Times feature some 300 people have availed themselves of a year old law that allows those here illegally to apply for several kinds of professional licenses, barbers, cosmetologist, auto mechanic, security guards, doctors, nurses, psychologist and pharmacists among others. Instead of a social security number, applicants can provide a federal taxpayer identification number which can be obtained by those here without documentation. Of course there are those who don’t like the law and who believe it is essentially corrupting our elections. But those who are behind it feel it is strengthening communities, insures that those providing services have the training required, add to the pool of professionals which increases tax revenues and utilize an untapped worker population. On a personal level it improves the lives of many, people who had to be laborers who can now work in their own professions. My own father was a pharmacist who could not practice here, I wonder had the law existed years ago, had he been able to practice during those 5 years before he became a citizen, how many things would have ended up being easier for him and my mother? People here without proper papers don’t usually announce they are, the law gives them an option and our knowing it exists may perhaps enable us to extend that option to someone we might know.