California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law Friday that expands the ability of illegal aliens to obtain state identification — and tightens restrictions on state cooperation with federal immigration authorities to bar even health and safety exceptions.
Under Newsom’s predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown, the state began issuing driver’s licenses to “undocumented” residents. The move was advertised as a way to improve road safety and automobile insurance for a significant population of drivers.
The new bill, AB 1766, directs the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to “by no later than July 1, 2027, issue a restricted identification card to an eligible applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law if they provide satisfactory proof of identity and California residency, as specified.”
Gov. Newsom said in a statement: “California is expanding opportunity for everyone, regardless of immigration status. … We’re a state of refuge – a majority-minority state, where 27 percent of us are immigrants. That’s why I’m proud to announce the signing of today’s bills to further support our immigrant community, which makes our state stronger every single day.”
The DMV has become a flashpoint for controversy due to “Motor Voter” laws that also allow automatic voter registration when driver’s licenses are obtained. The department has, in the past, registered thousands of voters improperly.
In addition, AB 1766 specifies that health and safety concerns are no longer exceptions that would allow state authorities to provide “noncriminal” information to federal immigration authorities. That means criminals who are illegally in the country might not be reported; it also means that despite California’s aggressive lockdown policies in the coronavirus pandemic, the state may not be allowed to provide information about illegal aliens to the federal government in future public health crises.