California Has Given More Than One Million Driver's Licenses to Illegal Aliens
Chris Reeves / Townhall Tipsheet
This was made possible all the way back in 2013 when the California Assembly passed AB 60, also known as the “Safe and Responsible Drivers Act.” Upon going into effect in 2015, the law required California DMV offices to issue driver’s licenses to people who are “unable to submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States” as long as they can “provide satisfactory proof of identity and California residency” instead.
At the time of its passage, the law’s supporters openly touted the bill as being intended to benefit illegal immigrants (without calling them as such, of course). As just one example, the pro-illegal immigration activist group “DriveCA” praised the bill for removing illegal aliens’ fear of being arrested and deported for driving without a license:
Up until 1994 all immigrants had access to a driver’s license in California, regardless of immigration status. They were able to get to work, drive their children to school, and run everyday errands without the fear of being pulled over.
After having the ability to apply for licenses revoked, they were left without any other option but to go on with their daily lives and drive without a license. Unfortunately, doing so has resulted in tickets, vehicle impoundments, arrests, and even deportations.
For those and many other reasons, immigrants and their allies spent the past two decades organizing and fighting to restore access to licenses. The result of this mobilization was the passage of Assembly Bill 60, The Safe and Responsible Driver Act (AB 60) in 2013.
Under this new law, any eligible California resident will be able to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, beginning January 1, 2015!On Wednesday, one of AB 60’s original authors, former Assemblyman Luis Alejo, released a statement celebrating the news of one million AB 60 licenses:
"Immigrants are getting tested, licensed and insured and this is making our roads safer for everyone…
"Today, we see the law working the way it was intended to and has dramatically improved the lives of a million immigrants and their families."However, according to The Sacramento Bee, Alejo’s claims about AB 60 improving safety are a bit hyperbolic, as one recent scientific study of the effects of the law was unable to find evidence that the bill reduced car crashes or auto-accident fatalities, although researchers did conclude that AB 60 had cut rates of hit-and-run accidents:
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed hit-and-run accidents dropped in California after AB 60 went into effect, and had no discernible impact on the total number of crashes or auto-related fatalities in the state.But Alejo is correct about one thing at least — namely, that AB 60 has played a key role in making California one of the leading sanctuary states in the country, or as he put it, “dramatically improved the lives of a million immigrants and their families." Indeed, any illegal alien who wants to evade federal law enforcement and immigration officials can safely avoid capture and drive on roads paid for with taxpayer dollars as long as they reside in California.
Whether or not this is beneficial for the state or the country as a whole doesn’t appear to be of too much concern for the Golden State and its political elites.