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Millions driving illegally cause all sorts of headaches
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The problem of illegal drivers on California roads is a serious issue but I can't resist weaving the Seven Dwarfs as as an illustration to help me make my point.

Policy makers have got to quit mollycoddling illegal aliens and forcing "Hi-ho hi-ho, off to work we go" taxpayers ("Grumpy") to pay for billions in services to them. But we have control over who we have to deal with on a personal level and I have a word of advice for anyone who is selling their car, especially if priced affordable. Don't sell a vehicle to anyone unless you actually see the buyer's current driver's license.

An experience my son, Jeremy, is having gives me cause for such advice.

Jeremy (represented by "Happy") enlisted in the Air Force in September 2010 and left his pickup at our home during the time he attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. In October Happy was assigned to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey and he worked via e-mail to trade his Chevy truck on Craigslist for a rag top Jetta. Since he was still in Texas, I had to preside over the transaction. He arranged for the owner of the Jetta (who shall be duly noted as "Dopey" because he can't speak) to drive to my house where he checked out the pickup and I checked out the car.

I represent "Sleepy" because I was naive. I should have been alarmed by the fact that the Jetta owner could barely speak a word of English. It was awkward trying to communicate with the Bay Area resident, all the while as I'm wondering how long "Dopey" had been in the United States given the fact that he hadn't hardly picked up any of our language. "Dopey" pointed a lot and struggled to come up with English words and could not complete a sentence.

You need to know that my son went through about 10 cars in two years, buying and selling and restoring cars. He bought several cars before learning they were never registered with the DMV by the previous owner. They obviously skipped the DMV to escape paying sales taxes or more probably because they are flying under the radar as illegal residents. The mess of clearing the title was left to Jeremy at the DMV.

Several days after making the swap, Jeremy sent the DMV the Release of Liability within the prescribed seven days. However, "Dopey" didn't bother to transfer ownership. Months later, a registered letter came from the Stockton Police Department informing Jeremy that "his" pickup was involved in a hit-and-run crash in which the victim sustained $1,200 in damages. The driver, presumably "Dopey," fled the scene. The police went to the registered owner on record which was my son since the ever efficient DMV apparently didn't process the release.

"Happy" tells the Stockton PD that he had traded the pickup to "Dopey" months prior and had sent in the release paperwork and was nowhere near Stockton on the day of the crash. Indeed, the Air Force could vouch for him since he was at the DLI.

The victim in the hit-and-run had California AAA insurance, who could care less to hear Happy's explanation. In fact, a AAA adjuster ("Bashful" since he had no courage to act on the truth about what my told him), said "What do you want me to do about that?" Oh I don't know, maybe quit harassing him over a truck he no longer owned?

Jeremy is not about to pay $1,200 for damages he didn't cause. So the AAA then sent the amount to a collection agency who is farther removed from the process than AAA and the DMV. They were told "Happy" didn't own the Chevy at the time of the wreck, but they too could care less.

The bottom line is the mess isn't over and could have been prevented if I had asked to see Dopey's license for would bet $1,000 he didn't have one. Had I seen that he had no license, I would have ended the trade.

Of course, one doesn't have to be a licensed driver to own a vehicle; but I have to assume that "Dopey" wasn't obtaining the truck to park it in a museum. But if you drive on streets, you are required by state law to have a valid drivers' license and auto insurance. Hit-and-run drivers flee the scene because they are either unlicensed, uninsured, wanted for other crimes or in the country illegally.

I can't say for sure that "Dopey" didn't have a license but since he didn't bother to register his Chevy with the DMV, I have to assume he doesn't follow the laws regarding a license to drive either. And given the vast language barrier, I'd say chances are darn good that he didn't have a license because he wasn't even a citizen of the United States.

Nobody knows how many illegal aliens (represented by "Sneezy" since they are allergic to following immigration law) are in the United States. However, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated two years ago that 11.2 million illegal aliens lived in the United States. Other agencies peg that at a much higher number. Many Sneezys are here to work and that means they're driving to jobs on our roads without insurance. How they get hired is another issue and probably involves forged documents, but they put others like "Happy" at financial peril.

The costs of illegals to Americans as taxpayers is mind-boggling. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) issued a 2010 study, "The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers," which states that illegal immigration costs all levels of government approximately $113 billion. That equates to $1,117 per American household. FAIR estimates that California taxpayers shoulder a cost of $10.5 billion per year, or $1,183 per household. Ironically both figures are close to what AAA wants my son to pay for a wreck he didn't cause.

The cost of illegals on a personal level - such as my Happy's headache - is perhaps just as grievous.

The California Department of Insurance estimates that a third of all motorists are driving without insurance, with that number roughly 50 percent in poor areas like our Valley. But it's safe to say that 100 percent of all illegal aliens are driving without insurance. And when they hit others it causes loss and grief.

It has been reported that an "enormous number" of Americans lose their lives each year at the hands of illegal immigrants. An illegal immigrant with a "long record" of driving offenses in Michigan caused the loss of both legs of an 18-year-old victim in December 2002.

Several years ago on Highway 99 near the Pine Street overpass, a heavily intoxicated Mexican national was speeding southbound and rear-ended a car with three women. One was killed in the fire caused by the crash. The driver fled to the Keyes area until his car could no longer run where he was apprehended by a good Samaritan and became combative.

Unfortunately Sacramento is minus the ever wise "Doc." We need leaders with backbone to tackle the problem of illegal immigration and follow the law. Democrats, in particular state Sen. Gilbert Cedillo, R-Los Angeles, would love to give drivers licenses to foreign invaders. Cedillo took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the state of California so I assume it's for political power that he wishes to extend rights to criminal aliens.

Seller beware. Driver beware. Taxpayer beware. It's no use standing at the wishing well. We must elect officials who stand by the rule of law.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at