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Poll: Should the Vehicles of Unlicensed Drivers be Impounded?

Where do you stand on the touchy issue, which appears to have split L.A. along racial lines?

In an interview with last month, Patch raised an issue that the Los Angeles Times highlights in an opinion column Monday: Whether or not the vehicles of so-called illegal immigrants should be impounded if they are found driving without a drivers’ license—and the offending drivers let off with a citation.

Specifically, we asked Huizar: “Do you consider the City of L.A. to be a Sanctuary City in which the interests of illegal aliens—a legal term in the federal code books, not a derisive one—appears to be heavily favored while the general public’s interests become subordinate?”

Huizar responded by saying, in part, that although Los Angeles has not technically been declared a Sanctuary City, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck deserves kudos for his “administrative decision to allow these drivers to [retain] their cars, and allow [them] to be cited.”

Huizar defended Beck’s decision on the grounds that it’s not uncommon for the families of illegal immigrants found driving without a license to rely “on the automobile to get their kids to school—maybe it’s the only vehicle in that family that allows those families to get to work.”

In his Monday column, the editor of the Times’ editorial pages, Jim Newton, writes that “Beck's approach strikes me as humane and sensible.” He adds: “What's problematic is whether this really is his call to make.”

Newton argues that letting unlicensed drivers off by citing them and not impounding their vehicles if licensed drivers claims those vehicles is a policy issue with such far-reaching implications that Beck ought not to have the authority to call the shots in the matter.

“What Beck is proposing is a matter of intense public interest; it would significantly affect the actions of police officers; and debate over it has polarized the city partly along racial lines,” writes Newton.

To read Newton’s column, click this link.

To read Huizar’s take on the issue, click here.

And spare a moment to take our poll about whether or not you think it makes sense to let unlicensed drivers off with a citation. Tell us in the Comments section whether you think LAPD Chief Beck should be the deciding authority in the matter.

mark January 31, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Well it seems like you guys have a problem with uninsured motorists, not unlicensed drivers. They question was in regard to unlicensed, not uninsured. Maybe there should be a choice to allow people to obtain licenses without regard to their immigration status. Or perhaps to instigate a no-fault insurance or at least a no-fault with a Quantitative threshold system. I mean even insured/licensed drivers must be tempted to run if they hit an expensive car or cause extensive injury, which might be well beyond their policy limits.
Ajay Singh January 31, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Sarah—sorry to hear about your husband's plight. Did nobody note the license plate number of the hit-and-run lady? (Or did she stop the SUV too far for anyone to read the numbers?).
Ralph Hoffmann January 31, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Susan & Kathy, Pot and cigarettes are bad for your lungs just like GHGs, and are equally addictive. Halfway measures like forming carpools are like chewing Nicorette gum before quitting entirely and using public transit.
Emerald January 31, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Unlicensed and uninsured go hand in hand and equal irresponsible and dangerous drivers. If you don't have a valid licesnse and or have a license and can't afford insurance YOU SHOULD STAY OFF THE ROAD. Hit and run accidents cause horrid burdens on responsible people who work very hard to pay high insurance premiums. Then some low-life idiot comes along, maims and kills. Unlicensed, uninsured should pay a heavy penalty for their callous irresponsible actions.
Erykah Grande February 02, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Wow! @ The poll results. AMAZING. How the heck is driver without a LICENSE a "THREAT" to society?! LOL Wow. I am truly at a loss for words, dear patch readers. Just. Wow.

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