Schwarzenegger Repeals Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (searchrepealed a measure Wednesday that would have allowed an estimated 2 million undocumented immigrant drivers to apply for licenses in California.

Overturning the law, which would have taken effect in January, was a major campaign promise in the October recall election that swept the movie star into office.

"The swift bipartisan passage of this legislation is a perfect example of how the peoples' will can change politics-as-usual in Sacramento," Schwarzenegger said in a statement after he signed the repeal without ceremony or pictures.

His action came 2 weeks after Schwarzenegger, a Republican, fulfilled his first campaign promise -- to end nearly $4 billion in higher annual car taxes.

The driver's license law was passed by the Legislature in September and signed by then-Gov. Gray Davis (search), triggering criticism that he was pandering to Hispanic voters in the recall balloting.

California is deeply divided over the illegal immigrants (searchflowing into the state, mostly from Mexico and Central America.

Supporters of the law, which would have allowed license applications using taxpayer identification numbers instead of Social Security numbers, argued it would prompt undocumented immigrants to take the state driving test and become insured.

Opponents labeled the law a reward for lawbreakers and said terrorists could take advantage of it.

Schwarzenegger's action sets the stage for a fresh fight on the issue in January. Schwarzenegger has said he wants a "whole new package" that includes more safeguards and background checks on applicants. But many Republicans say they will fight any bill that allows residents living illegally in California to get a driver's license.