Assembly Bill 60
The Assembly Bill 60, which has since been enacted as the Safe and Responsible Driver Act, enables the issuance of driver’s license to undocumented immigrants who prove that they are residents of the State of California. The law would enable the registration of approximately two million undocumented immigrants who are reported as having been driving illegally.
The law is informed by a number of reasons. One advocate for this law, Luis Alejo, argues that the law would enable issuance of driving licenses to undocumented immigrants who would consequently be able to get insured. It is argued thus that insuring the drivers would make the roads safer and enable accident victims to claim compensation. The mischief, therefore, is to eliminate illegal driving in the State of California. Interestingly, despite the fact that California leads in the number of undocumented immigrants, it is the fifth state to allow for licensing of undocumented drivers coming after the states of Washington, Illinois, Utah and New Mexico. It is argued that the law would make the roads safer and is consistent with the rule of law. This is because driving without a driver’s license is an offence and portends the challenge of non-compensation for victims in an accident for lack of insurance.
This law would benefit a number of players in the State of California. The biggest beneficiaries perhaps are the minorities who in most cases compose the illegal, undocumented immigrants. It is argued that issuing this group of people with licenses will allow them access to other social services in the State of California and the larger Federal America. Indeed, one of these is the ability to get insured which qualifies them for compensation upon occurrence of accidents. Interestingly, this law was moved by Alejo, who is a Latino which is one group of the minorities. In addition, the law would benefit the State of California as it has been observed that revenues from taxes would increase. The revenue increase comes from the licensing fees and the additional insurance which commutes to more taxes on the insurance firms. The Insurance firms are also likely to benefit from this law as the estimated two million drivers would now be able to get insurance hence an increase in the premiums received by insurance firms. Lastly, the law is likely to give political leverage to the representatives and the Governor who consented to it. This leverage is in form of the support by the affected groups.
While this law has no direct negative impacts, it can be argued that it affects the proponents of Proposition 187 who have always wanted to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants. The Assembly Bill 60 indirectly extends public benefits to such undocumented persons. That explains why the California Coalition for Immigration Reform opposed the bill vehemently. In addition, the law would likely pile pressure on the public resources in California due to an increase of beneficiaries by about two million. However, this law needs to be appreciated in the context that California leads in the number of illegal immigrants and a solution to illegal driving that is sustainable is necessary.
Finally, the agencies charged with the implementation are the California Police Chiefs’ Association and the State Department of Motor Vehicles. The two are charged with inspection of necessary documents that would prove residency of California. Such documentation includes any document that proves payment of taxes.
Bunch, B. (2013). California Bill Would Allow Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants. Independent Voter Network. Retrieved from http://ivn.us/2013/01/16/california-bill-would-allow-driver-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants/
Legislative Counsel's Digest. (2013, January 7). Assembly Bill No. 60. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from Legislative Counsel's Digest: http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_0051-0100/ab_60_bill_20130912_amended_sen_v93.htm
Rivas, J. (2013). Calif. Bill That Allows Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Moves Forward. Colorlines. Retrieved from http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/04/calif_bill_that_allows_drivers_licenses_for_undocumented_moves_forward.html
Schaffner, B. F. (2010). Politics. New York: Cengage Learning.