Posted on September 9, 2004

Not Legal but Need a License? No Sweat

Steve Lopez, L. A. Times, Sep. 5

You don’t have to find the people selling fake documents on the street near MacArthur Park. They find you.

Green cards, Social Security cards, birth certificates. You name it, they can print it. It’s an open-air bazaar in the City of Angels, where the underground economy sizzles and salesmen known as micaderos spot you from half a block away.

I slowed down at a corner and two men approached my car, asking what I needed. I am a California-born gringo of European descent, and so I had to come up with something to make them think I wasn’t an undercover cop.

In Spanish, I said I was an undocumented Spaniard.

“De España,” one guy said to the other.

I need a driver’s license, I said.

Two hundred bucks, they said.

And how long would it take?

Thirty minutes.

I said I’d think about it.