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Driver’s Licenses for Illegal California Residents

A recent New York Times story covered a community meeting that happened in Bell, California (a city in Los Angeles county) where people were able to ask questions and express concerns about a driver’s license program expected to roll out within the next year. In case you haven’t been kept abreast of the law that passed in the Golden State last year, Cali will offer driver’s licenses to illegal residents. 

The article explains that the law was intended to “allow people to commute without fear while also decreasing rates of hit-and-run accidents and uninsured drivers on the roads.”

So, you might think that people were dancing around, excited that they, too, would have a plastic card with an unflattering photo of themselves that would allow them freedom on the roads. On the contrary, many people are worried that this is a data collection scheme to deport such residents.

At the community meeting, this point was addressed:

“It’s not a trap,” said Ricardo Lara, the state senator who represents this working-class city, where more than 40 percent of the population is foreign born. State law guaranteed that their information would not be shared with other government agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said, adding, “Your information is protected.”

I guess time will tell.

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