California Bill Proposes Offering State IDs to All, Regardless of Immigration Status

Aug. 5—More than 1 million undocumented immigrants in California have obtained driver’s licenses since 2015. But an even greater number, who don’t drive, have been unable to get a state ID.

A proposed law looks to change that.

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

On Friday, Aug. 5, Los Angeles-area Assemblymen Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Miguel Santiago joined Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo and immigrant-rights advocates at the Pasadena Job Center to tout the proposed legislation.

“This bill is about ensuring baseline quality of life for every person living in this state, regardless of their legal status,” said Jones-Sawyer, one of the bill’s co-authors.

California has an estimated 2.739 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Only 4% are younger than 16, so the law is expected to impact approximately 1.7 million people, advocates said.

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

Since that law, AB 60, took effect in 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles has issued 1,121,006 original licenses, a DMV spokesman said in an e-mail.

But that law has led to a “glaring gap” that especially prevents some women, disabled people, and elderly individuals from obtaining state identification cards, Jones-Sawyer said.

“The only state-issued ID someone with undocumented status can obtain is a driver’s license, blocking a vulnerable portion of the population who are lacking access to a car or the ability to drive from any access to any form of identification,” he said.

“Without any identification card in California, you can’t open a bank account … rent an apartment or a home … even cash a hard-earned check,” he continued. “We need to make sure 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 bill for immigrants who like herself “work with dignity,” and pay taxes but who have trouble getting rentals and other services without an official ID.

By Roxana Kopetman
Read full article HERE

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