California bill proposes offering state ID cards to everyone, regardless of immigration status – Orange County Register

Since 2015, more than 1 million undocumented immigrants in California have obtained a driver’s license. But an even larger number, who don’t drive, couldn’t get state ID.

A bill aims to change that.

AB 1766 — also known as the California IDs for All Act — would expand access to state-issued IDs to everyone, regardless of immigration status.

On Friday, August 5, Los Angeles Area Representatives Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Miguel Santiago joined Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo and immigrant rights advocates at the Pasadena Job Center to campaign for the proposed legislation to advertise.

“This bill is about providing a basic quality of life for every person who lives in this state, regardless of legal status,” said Jones-Sawyer, one of the bill’s co-authors.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are an estimated 2.739 million undocumented immigrants living in California. Just 4% are under the age of 16, so the law is expected to affect about 1.7 million people, supporters said.

California already has a law on the books that gives undocumented immigrants the right to obtain a driver’s license.

Since this law AB 60 came into force in 2015, the Motor Vehicle Office has issued 1,121,006 original licenses, a DMV spokesman said in an email.

But this law has created a “glaring loophole,” preventing some women, the disabled and the elderly in particular from obtaining state identification, Jones-Sawyer said.

“The only state-issued ID someone with undocumented status can get is a driver’s license, which denies access to any type of ID to a vulnerable segment of the population who don’t have access to a car or who can’t drive,” he said .

“You can’t open a bank account in California without ID…rent an apartment or house…not even cash a hard-earned check,” he continued. “We need to make sure that people no longer face these barriers.”

A Los Angeles woman, a member of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said in Spanish that she supports the law for immigrants who, like herself, “work with dignity” and pay taxes but have difficulty renting and other services without them getting an official ID.

When Gov. Jerry Brown enacted AB 60 in 2013, many hailed it as a good public policy measure that would improve road safety and require new drivers to purchase insurance.

But it has also been derided by some as a measure that rewards lawbreakers and drains the attention and resources of US citizens and legal residents.

Among them was Robin Hvidston, who runs a group in Claremont called We the People Rising. Hvidston echoed a similar criticism of the new law, writing in an email: “Rather than encouraging lawbreaking, the charities and politicians should encourage people to obey the law and legally enter and reside in the United States.”

The legislation is supported by numerous organizations including Asian Americans Advancing Justice; the California Immigrant Policy Center; and other immigrant, legal, and community-based groups. According to documents from the Senate and Legislative Committees, no organization has opposed the Sacramento bill.

Earlier this week, the law was referred by a committee to the so-called “suspense file,” and whether to go ahead will be decided on Thursday, August 11. Jones-Sawyer said he was optimistic about the fate of the legislation.

“This is almost clean-up legislation to make sure we get everyone involved,” he said in a brief interview after the press conference.

If approved, the DMV estimates “significant one-time upfront costs, potentially in the millions” and ongoing costs that could start at $8.6 million but would decline to $500,000 annually after 2028, with staff costs likely driven by the Revenue generated would be offset from card application fees, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s analysis. California bill proposes offering state ID cards to everyone, regardless of immigration status – Orange County Register

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