Undocumented immigrants hit the road with CA driver’s licenses

undocumented driver's licenseAfter two months of granting driver’s licenses to once-undocumented immigrants, California officials reported big numbers. The Golden State program has supplied licenses to almost 150,000 immigrants. Supporters of the move have been quick to tout its perceived advantages — and to boost participation among those eligible.

Similar programs have been introduced in nine other states and the District of Columbia.

Originally introduced by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, the bill to issue driver’s licenses regardless of legal immigration status was passed into law in 2013. Assembly Bill 60, the Safe and Responsible Driver Act, permitted the expansion to take effect on the first day of 2015.

As the law specified, recipients did not get licenses identical to those possessed by U.S. citizens. Thanks to the requirements of federal law, the special licenses differed in their visual appearance by being marked, “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY.” They cannot be used for specified purposes like entering restricted federal areas.

Now, with the process established by the law well under way, Alejo began urging Californians to help eligible recipients take advantage of the program. There, he said, the key is ensuring interested participants actually pass the driving exam.

“It took us 20 years to pass this law in Sacramento, and now that it is a reality, it is up to all our community, not just the legislators, not just the DMV but also organizations in our communities, to take it seriously and put aside the time to study the books, and be able to pass those tests,” he said.

As the Californian reported, in January, “The statewide written knowledge exam passage rate for all applicants for a new driver’s license was 48 percent, including AB60 applicants” — an increase of 1 percentage point over the Jan. 2014 results.

Outsized demand

But other requirements and hurdles kept licenses out of the hands of many undocumented immigrants who wanted them. “Altogether, about 387,000 undocumented immigrants applied for licenses during the first two months of the program, the state said, but only 131,000 were granted them,” according to Reuters. “Immigrants applying for the licenses must still prove their identities with birth certificates or other means,” in addition to passing the driver’s test.

The flood of demand has reflected a growing sense statewide that beneficiaries simply won’t be subject to increased scrutiny at the federal level. Activists in the legal field have adopted a wait-and-see approach.

“The DMV has said they will not refer these cases to law enforcement as long as the person used the license for driving purposes only and did not commit any other criminal activity,” said one San Francisco attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. “We have not yet seen how this policy is playing out, so we are advising people to use caution.”

More organs

Although the licensing program has divided voters in California, where the issue of undocumented immigrants remains sharply unpopular among many residents, beneficiaries of AB60 have scored a public relations coup of sorts thanks to an unanticipated development: increased rates of organ donation.

As the Fresno Bee reported, the California Transplant Donor Network reasoned the law spurred an increase of some 30 percent:

“From Jan. 2 to March 3, 56,000 people signed up as organ donors, according to the donor network, the only federally designated organ recovery organization in Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada.

“‘It’s got to be more than a coincidence that in the past three months — since AB60 took effect — so many people were added to the donor registry, said spokesman Anthony Borders. ‘It’s the only spike that’s happened in the last few years.'”

Although analysts have not yet connected all the dots, some accounts suggested Latinos who immigrated illegally have benefited from clear religious support in opting to donate.

“Recent popes have spoken in favor of organ donations,” the Orange County Register reported. “Pope Benedict XVI was a card-holding organ donor until he became pope, according to the Catholic News Agency. More recently, Pope Francis described organ donations as ‘a testimony of love for our neighbor.'”

Francis is the first pope from Latin America.


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  1. Dude
    Dude 20 March, 2015, 19:11

    They’re not undocumented immigrants. They’re illegal aliens. Their presence here is a violation of federal and state law, as is hiring them in any job. Giving them drivers licenses is against the law. Obama and Governor Moonbeam think nothing of violating the U.S. and California Constitutions. They show more regard for foreigners here illegally than they do for us Americans. I guess Brown now takes his orders from La Raza instead of American citizens.

    Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 21 March, 2015, 06:29

      Pretty much Dude. You have to understand, if you are going to deconstruct the current ‘progressive’ zeitgeist, that the evil twin of identity politics is the hierarchy of victimization. Victim status is real power. The model for all of this madness was Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where children were ’empowered’ to ‘take action’ against all authority figures. This meant in many cases beating their own parents and teachers to death. (Red Brigades). We really need to study the Cultural Revolution because it’s being done here. The american left worshiped Mao, and get ready, cause they’re just gettiing warmed up.

      Reply this comment
      • Queeg
        Queeg 21 March, 2015, 11:19

        Kali is mildly Progressive. Granted their are some sick college indoctrinated fruit cakes esposing veils, food limits, energy limits, religious bashing, but the vast masses are just trying to make it. No coffee server jerks preaching social policy to them….just struggling and working hard…..applaud them….they are the future, for all said and done….Progressives are full of college spoon fed crap!

        Reply this comment
    • john jorsett
      john jorsett 23 March, 2015, 09:53

      Now that they have licenses, they can’t even be called “undocumented” immigrants any more. An entirely new euphemism will have to be found.

      Reply this comment
  2. Dork
    Dork 22 March, 2015, 09:14

    Altogether, about 387,000 undocumented immigrants applied for licenses during the first two months of the program, the state said, but only 131,000 were granted them

    I am going to see a Lawyer this week about the possibility of Filing a Lawsuit to force the Franchise Tax Board to immediately AUDIT every last one of these Tax Cheats.

    Where did you get Rent Money?
    Where did you get the money for this License Application?
    Where did you get the money to buy a car?
    Where did you get the Money to buy insurance?
    Where do you get money for food,clothing…?


    Here we have 400,000 DOCUMENTED CASES OF TAX FRAUD

    Reply this comment
    • NTHEOC
      NTHEOC 22 March, 2015, 09:35

      I am going to see a Lawyer this week about the possibility of Filing a Lawsuit to force the Franchise Tax Board to immediately AUDIT every last one of these Tax Cheats.
      While your there find out about the BIGGEST TAX CHEATS around! Large corporations,Big business owners,small business owners, hog millionaires, etc……

      Reply this comment
      • Dork
        Dork 22 March, 2015, 10:37

        While your there find out about the BIGGEST TAX CHEATS around! Large corporations,Big business owners,small business owners, hog millionaires, etc…

        ??I believe you are mistaken here, just because Businesses and such LEGALLY BRIBE the Legislators and the Governor into passing Tax Cuts and other accounting fantasies to reduce their Tax Burden, does not mean they are Tax Cheats. They just paid the Politicians instead.

        Reply this comment
  3. desmond
    desmond 22 March, 2015, 14:28

    Ban capitalism. Open the borders, yea. . No more profits. Close all Walmarts. The pigs at Apple and Microsoft. Make them pay for their crimes. Go Emperor Hussein…..Praise be the great one. Unionize the girl scouts. Profits make the cookies too expensive.

    Reply this comment
    • NTHEOC
      NTHEOC 22 March, 2015, 15:07

      Unionize the girl scouts.
      Damn right, but then if they did that they would have to obey the child labor laws and would have to stop sending little girls out to work for them! All while the Girl Scouts’ “cookie monster” CEO tax filings peg her yearly salary at $393,380!!!!

      Reply this comment
  4. Out of compliance
    Out of compliance 23 March, 2015, 08:08

    How about all the monies the Air Resource Board is losing with the thousands of out of state drivers here. They drive the vehicles they brought here that have not gone through Smog Testing like the legal people of the state are forced into. I have several neighbors that have had out of state plates that have been here for 4 yrs or more. And they are working someplace and drive these vehicles to get there.

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 23 March, 2015, 22:44

    You doomed worry worry worry about trivial crap you can never change. The little people have nothing to lose…..they ignore regs, taxes, fees.

    What will they do them, if caught? Calif is virtually ungovernable….the more you govern they evade more and more.

    Reply this comment
  6. dwholeshebang
    dwholeshebang 24 March, 2015, 16:28

    I suppose all the illegal aliens on our streets now have insurance?? What a joke.

    Reply this comment

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