Incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Bill Jones met in Beverly Hills for their first debate in the closely watched race, but they stopped short of endorsing amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Jones, whose roots are in the farm country of the Central Valley, said he favored a guest-worker plan, but opposed issuing drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants on national security grounds. He said licenses were used for, among other things, boarding airliners and their issuance should be closely controlled.
Boxer voiced her support for a bill allowing access to the United States for agricultural workers, and said immigrants already in the country should be put on track for permanent legal residency. She said she was on the same page with law enforcement in favoring licenses for immigrants because it would allow authorities to establish a suspect's true identity.