Friday, January 2, 2015

Illegal Immigrants Crowd California DMV's for Licenses

Today marks the first day that illegal immigrants living in California have the ability to get a drivers license without showing a proof of residency (San Jose Mercury News). The bill that allowed the illegal immigrants to get a drivers license was because of the passing of  AB60, which was passed in late 2013 (California DMV , NBC News) and allowed over 6,000 illegal immigrants residing in California today to obtain a license. Theses license do differ from a normal license because they have "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY" written on it so that Homeland Security could tell the difference (San Jose Mercury News). Only a few DMV offices around the state were open to accommodate all these people, such as the East San Jose office.

I think this is a good idea to allow illegal immigrants the ability to drive because it is the first step to becoming an american citizen. But like everyone else, I wouldn't want more drivers because the roads are already congested, especially in the LA area. I think this will help the President's immigration reform policies and also help the democratic party get more votes if this works well in the coming months. Driving can  be a necessity for people and it is great leap forward to having better immigration policies.

1. Do you think this will help the Democratic party secure future votes from immigrants?
2. What do you predict this impact will this have on future legislation in California?
3. What can the passing of this bill benefit people in California?


Valerie Chen said...

This will definitely help the Democrats garner favor with immigrant families. I don't think this specific legislation will make that much of an impact on traffic and road congestion; most undocumented immigrants have been driving illegally anyways, paying thousands of dollars in fines for driving without a license. If anything, this new law will help improve road safety, making sure that all drivers are subject to testing and have insurance. A DMV study actually proves that unlicensed drivers are more likely to be the responsible party in fatal collisions.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the increase in immigrants with valid driver licenses will translate into support for the Democratic Party and their immigration policies. Like Valerie said, right now AB 60 will most likely positively change or have no effect on road traffic. However, in the future, this law and other potential measures on immigration could encourage more people to immigrate to California, possibly causing more congestion then. This would also threaten the increased safety of the roads that legislators expect as a result of the measure.

I doubt that the bill would've been passed if the other ten states that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses hadn't shown overall success in their systems. Hopefully, passing this bill will turn out to help families and the state as well. Particular institutions, such as driving lesson companies and the DMV itself, will especially benefit economically from the AB 60 program going into effect. With approximately 1.4 million people expected to apply in the next few years, DMV offices will need to hire more workers to accommodate the rush and more people will likely seek assistance in passing the exam.

However, the rush could also backfire and cause the program trouble instead. Immediately following the execution of a similar program in Washington D.C., only 20% of undocumented immigrants successfully obtained their license (Washington Times). Besides the overwhelming failure rate, the appointment process was increasingly slow and inefficient. These obstacles could deter immigrants from trying again after failing or even trying at all, and they may just continue driving illegally. The article also lists similar problems that have occurred in other states, indicating that they're likely to occur in California as well, even though the media is citing mostly positive reports.


Samantha Bhaumik said...

This new bill will help thousands of immigrant people live an easier life. Just driving to work, trying to support their family was a risk. Now, they are able to drive without fear of dealing with the large consequences of being pulled over. Insurance was extremely high and cars would get towed and impounded all the time when confronted with routine traffic stops. Now not only will immigrants be able to finally drive legally, but the roads will be safer for everyone. If immigrants get their license, then they are knowledgable of road safety and are safer drivers. Some say that this new bill rewards illegal activity and will bring more illegal immigrants over the boarder. Although this is true, this bill will heighten safety, and help thousands of people living in California, some who have lived here for decades in fear. The problem of more illegal immigrants coming over is another problem that should be dealt with.

Anonymous said...

The Democratic Party does gain support from immigrants with this change in traffic law. The process to become a legal and documented immigrant in the United States is being made into a more open and more readily accepting to immigrants. Nearly 30,000 immigrants applied for a license in Los Anegles as of yesterday. I would expect claims of "The Obama administration is encouraging illegal immigration!" emerging, as such claims have already been made. However, as the bill has been generally successful, this law will benefit California and its residents.