Much attention has been paid to President Obama's recent unilateral decision to create a de facto new legal status for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States by making it clear that the United States will not in any manner attempt to deport them. However, here in California Governor Jerry Brown and his Democratic colleagues, who control overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature are way ahead of the president when it comes to inviting those in the country illegally to "come out of the shadows" and start receiving the privileges that state government can bestow on them.
If you go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, you are greeted by a large hyperlinked banner saying, "AB 60: Driver License Implementation" next to a big yellow button that reads, "Click here for information on how to apply for your original driver's license."
The first words you read on the California DMV's AB 60 implementation website are startling to some, offensive to many, but now the law here in the Golden State: "Assembly Bill (AB) 60 (Chapter 524: Statutes of 2013) requires the department to issue an original driver license to an applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States...".
A quick perusal of acceptable forms of proof of identification that must be presented to the DMV show the list topped by either an existing California license or ID Card, or a Mexican Federal Electoral Card, a Mexican Passport, or a Mexican Matricula Consular, or an approved foreign passport.
AB 60 passed out of the Legislature in September of 2013 with the votes of virtually every Democratic legislator, and the votes of two Republicans in each chamber. Governor Brown was so anxious to express his pleasure about the bill's passage that before it even reached his desk he issued a public statement: "This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally. Hopefully it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."
According to the Orange County Register, "Across the state, DMV offices are bracing for an influx of new drivers - an estimated 1.4 million over the next three years - who qualify under a new law that will allow Californians living here illegally to apply for a driver's license after Jan. 1."
Apparently DMV offices have already been inundated with online requests to schedule new license appointments starting at the beginning of the new year. If you thought it was already hard to get in and out of your local DMV office in a timely manner, you can accurately foretell that DMV offices will be negatively impacted for a long, long time - especially those near areas that are proliferated by illegal aliens.
It is worth noting that in Oregon a law very similar to California's AB 60 was passed by the Legislature and signed into law - but was later the subject of a referendum (it takes 50,000 voter signatures on approved petitions to refer a bill to the voters in Oregon). In the Nov. 4 general election Oregonians voted overwhelmingly by a two-thirds margin to invalidate the law, and maintain proof of legal residency as a requirement to get an Oregon driver's license.
While Oregon voters have put their foot on the brakes, not so the case in California. In addition to the driver's license law, illegal aliens have been benefitting from a bill that provided for state subsidies in the form of Cal Grants if they choose to attend a university in California. And starting in 2015, those illegally in California will be able to apply for state-level student aid loans. A separate new law now requires 40 separate professional licensing boards in California by 2016 to issue permits without a requirement that that being licensed can demonstrate legal residency.
If all of this did not already amount to a virtual rolling out of the red carpet for millions of people residing in California in violation of the law, state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), chairman of the Legislature's Latino Caucus, told the Sacramento Bee that in this upcoming session he is introducing legislation that would create a "California Office of New Americans" with the stated purpose of creating a state resource for assisting what is expected to be somewhere north of 1.5 million illegal aliens positively impacted by President Obama's executive order of last week. The office will basically advise them on how to get everything that they can get, including the aforementioned drivers licenses and college funding.
Look for financial costs of this sort of legislating to have a huge, negative impact on available state resources. And, of course, we can anticipate that these California-specific laws will serve to increase incentives significantly for more mass-illegal immigration into the U.S., and specifically into California.