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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law allowing undocumented residents to obtain state ID


California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of bills late last week into law that includes a bill allowing undocumented residents who entered the United States to obtain state identification. 

The bill, AB 1766, dubbed “California IDs for All,” directs California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a restricted ID card to eligible participants by no later than July 1, 2027. 

“California is expanding opportunity for everyone, regardless of immigration status,” said Newsom in an official press statement. “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.”

According to the bill’s text, “This bill would specify that immigration enforcement, as defined, does not constitute an urgent health and safety need for those purposes, and would prohibit a government agency or department, law enforcement agency, commercial entity, or other person from obtaining, accessing, using, or otherwise disclosing, noncriminal history information maintained by the department, for the purpose of immigration enforcement.”

The new law prohibits the DMV from using migrant status as a factor in obtaining state identification. 

As detailed by the Daily Wire on Monday, the law “follows a controversy in the state in 2018 in which 1,500 people were improperly registered to vote in California by the DMV, including non-citizens. Then-California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D), who is now a U.S. Senator, said he did not know if any of those registered had voted in the state’s June 2018 primary election.”

The Associated Press reported at the time that around 1,500 people, which included at least one non-citizen, told the DMV they were ineligible or didn’t confirm their eligibility during the registration period. 

The other bills Newsom signed included a set of measures designed to improve access for immigrant students to public colleges and universities. Immigrant students who take loans from banks will also have more options to finance their education.

One of the changes to the law includes offering in-state tuition in the state’s public universities for undocumented residents with “exemption from payment of nonresident tuition.” 

Another bill signed into law provides low-income residents, including undocumented migrants, with eligibility for legal assistance in civil matters affecting their basic needs.

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