Illegal immigrants would be able to obtain a license to practice medicine from the state of California under a bill passed in the state Senate in early May.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach), would allow state boards to accept a federal taxpayer identification number in place of a Social Security number as part of a professional license application. Among other occupations, the relaxed rules would apply to healthcare professionals, including psychologists and pharmacists. The state Assembly is likely to take up the measure in the coming weeks.
“Over the last decade, our state has understood the importance of a continued investment in immigrant children,” Lara said in analysis presented to the state's Senate Rules Committee. “The natural step is to ensure that as these young people complete their education, a professional license is accessible to them in their respective fields.”
But opening up professional licensing to this segment has created controversy and is being targeted by conservative activists. “It's insane,” William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee, said in a news release. “By granting licenses to illegal immigrants, you both aid and abet illegal immigration, which is a violation of federal law.”