Gov. Davis Signs Bill Granting Licenses to Undocumented Residents
California Governor Gray Davis has signed into law the bill passed by the state legislature granting drivers' licenses to undocumented residents. The bill allows state residents to apply for a driver's license using a state-issued identification number rather than a Social Security number. This will allow the thousands of undocumented California residents to obtain licenses. Gubernatorial candidate Cruz Bustamante supports the law. Arnold opposes it, as do the other major Republican contenders for Governor. It is estimated that there are up to 2 million undocumented persons in California.
To obtain a license, an applicant must show a federal taxpayer identification number (but not a Social Security number, which requires lawful residence and permission to work) and other documents, such as a foreign passport, foreign driver's license or an identification card issued by foreign consulates, such as the matricula identification cards issued by the Mexican government.
We wrote about this earlier today and it provoked a lot of comments, many asking what benefits the bill would provide.
The American Immigration Lawyers' Associaton (AILA) says:
Licensing noncitizens enriches our domestic intelligence by allowing law enforcement authorities to verify and obtain the identities, residences, and addresses of millions of foreign nationals. Restrictive licensing will deprive authorities of this information.
The proliferation of fraudulent documents that will result from restrictive licensing will impede law enforcement efforts by contaminating intelligence regarding who is present in the United States.
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