The California Department of Motor Vehicles is setting up new facilities to process driver’s license applications for illegal immigrants.
Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill, AB 60, which will allow illegal immigrants to obtain the documents beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
The bill was signed along with a number of others laws seen as favorable to undocumented immigrants.
As part of the driver’s license application process, immigrants will have to acknowledge that they are undocumented. But AB 60 protects applicants from criminal prosecution.
The measure will provide an avenue for the state’s three to four million undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses, which advocates have said are necessary in order for the immigrants to get to and from work. The law is expected to allow up to 1.4 million undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses.
To accommodate that expected influx of new drivers, the state’s DMV is setting up five facilities throughout California. The facilities will be opened in the areas of San Jose, the South Central Coast, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego, DMV spokewoman Jessica Gonzalez told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“This is the stepping-stone to state level amnesty,” Jon Feere, legal policy analyst at the Center of Immigration Studies, told TheDCNF.
Feere noted that former governor Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 after signing into law a bill similar to AB 60.
“California is the state that gave us Ronald Reagan. Now it gives us illegal alien lawyers with law licenses and illegal alien drivers with driver’s licenses,” Feere said.
Despite the push, a majority of U.S. and California voters oppose providing undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses.
According to a Rasmussen poll taken in the wake of the passage of AB 60, 68 percent of likely American voters oppose their state giving undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses.
A poll conducted by Zogby Analytics of likely California voters found that 59 percent agreed with the statement “State and local governments should adopt policies that discourage illegal immigrants from settling in California.”
And 53 percent of respondents to the poll said that they would support a ballot measure that limited driver’s licenses to legal U.S. residents only.
Feere also pushed back on the idea that the driver’s licenses are necessary in order to help immigrants travel to and from work.
“The advocates who argue that licenses are necessary to help illegal aliens to get to jobs are by definition condoning illegal employment practices,” said Feere, noting that federal law prohibits the hiring of illegal immigrants.
As for the new processing centers, Feere says that they’re an unnecessary cost.
“It’s another cost that California taxpayers are going to be paying for, simply because the federal government has not done its job on illegal immigration and because Sacramento is welcoming illegal immigrants into the state,” he said.
California’s DMV has not yet finalized their plans for the new facilities or for which documents the new applicants will have to provide.
“DMV is still in the process of deciding what documents will be acceptable,” the DMV’s Gonzalez told TheDCNF.