Recent figures released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) showed the Golden State issued driver’s licenses to 605,000 illegal aliens last year. About 43 percent of California drivers’ licenses issued in 2015 went to immigrants who were in the United States illegally.
The sudden flood of illegal aliens obtaining driver’s licenses in California was a direct result of a law known as Assembly Bill 60 taking effect on January 2, 2015. The law authorizing the granting of licenses to illegal aliens was signed in October 2013 by Democrat Governor Jerry Brown. There are an estimated 2.5 million illegal aliens in California.
A report in the Los Angeles Times noted that Brown had also signed several other “immigration-related” bills into law last August, which included prohibiting the word “alien” within California’s labor code to describe immigrants in the country illegally. Other new laws that Brown signed permitted non-citizen high-school students to serve as election poll workers and provided legal protection to immigrant minors involved in civil lawsuits.
The licenses issued to illegal aliens bear the phrase “federal limits apply” on them, having the practical effect that law-enforcement officers in other states and federal officials are not obligated to accept them as valid forms of identification. For example, they do not meet federal standards as a form of identification to pass TSA checkpoints to board aircraft.
The California DMV anticipates that a total of about 1.4 million people will have received their license under the law by the end of 2017.
The law was an expensive one to implement and is expected to cost the state $141 million over a period of three years, according to the Orange County Register. During the year before it went into effect, the DMV hired 1,000 temporary employees and opened four additional processing centers to process the expected number of new applicants. It also extended its offices’ hours of operation to include Saturdays.
The cost of providing driver's licenses to illegal aliens is one more example of the overall cost of illegal immigration, which is determined mostly by federal policies. Some states, however, not content to suffer from federal policies alone, add to their residents’ burden by catering to illegal aliens at the state level as well.
We reported in our article last August that a then-current report released by the non-profit Pew Charitable Trust indicated that as of last summer, 10 states and the District of Columbia issued driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Nearly 37 percent of illegals live in a jurisdiction where they may now obtain a license. The states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
The Pew report noted that since the documents, such as U.S. birth certificates or U.S. passports, typically accepted as proof of age and identity are not available to illegal aliens, states issuing licenses to illegals accept alternate forms of identification. Consular identification cards, issued to foreign nationals by the embassy or consulate of their country of origin, are a common substitute, and are accepted by all 11 jurisdictions issuing licenses to illegal aliens.