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California Delegates Ask Feds To Accept Driver’s License Design For Undocumented Immigrants

Congressman Juan Vargas is urging the federal government to approve California’s plans to offer a new driver’s license for people living in the state without legal immigration status.

At issue is whether the chosen design makes it look too similar to a regular state license.

The Department of Homeland Security recently told the California Department of Motor Vehicles that the proposed design of the new license didn’t satisfy the requirements of the REAL ID Act. That federal law, passed in 2005, sets standards for state-issued identification cards with the goal of preventing fraudulent use by terrorists.

In response to DHS, Congressman Vargas and 18 other California delegates sent a letter urging Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to approve the design as proposed.

In a news release, Vargas said the design “not only complies with the REAL ID Act of 2005, but also protects immigrants from discrimination and increases road safety.”

The California legislature approved the driver’s license intended for use by undocumented immigrants last year, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law. The law specifies that the new driver’s licenses would be distinguishable from regular California driver’s licenses by a “recognizable feature on the front of the card, such as the letters ‘DP’ instead of, and in the same font size as, the letters 'DL,’ with no other distinguishable feature.”

The law also requires the license to bear a notice stating that it is not acceptable for official federal purposes, such as voting or employment.

The design specifications of the license have been debated for years among state legislators and immigrant advocacy groups, with the latter concerned that a special driver’s license for the undocumented could lead to discrimination.

Immigrants without legal status fear that carrying an ID that clearly labels them as undocumented could get them deported.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Ana Benitez, an undocumented immigrant living in San Diego said of the new licenses.

“We want a license so that all drivers can follow California rules, but we don’t want it to carry a mark,” Benitez said. The 44-year-old cook from Oaxaca, Mexico said she feared a distinctive license would expose undocumented drivers to police officers who might report their immigration status to federal officials.

Despite such fears, the law implementing the new driver’s license prohibits them from being used to determine a driver’s citizenship or immigration status.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing driver’s licenses for immigrants without legal status.

California DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez said the department was discouraged by the federal government’s rejection of the proposed license, but would continue to work with state officials and affected communities to design a license that complies with federal law.

Gonzalez said the state still plans to start offering the new licenses by Jan. 1, as required by the law. She said the DMV is working to establish four new centers for processing drivers’ applications, and hiring new employees.

California officials estimate that more than 1 million people could apply for the new licenses.

On Friday, the DMV issued proposed regulations for the application process. Applicants could present an approved foreign-issued ID card as proof of identity. Lacking that, they could present a school document, marriage license, income tax return or various other documents that would be reviewed by the DMV to determine whether the person’s ID could be verified.

The proposed regulations are open for public comment until June 23.


Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | May 10, 2014 at 1:26 p.m. ― 2 years ago

If we can issue them ID, we can send them home. Ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | May 11, 2014 at 8:52 a.m. ― 2 years ago

maybe the new design will let the police alert the border patrol to come pick up the illegal when they are pulled over.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | May 13, 2014 at 9:36 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Mikey, the police are not permitted to call border patrol. The illegals have more rights and benefits than some Americans.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 13, 2014 at 10:48 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Why would we give an illegal alien a drivers license? Leftism gone mad.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 13, 2014 at 12:37 p.m. ― 2 years ago

John Markkk, you would rather have people driving NOT knowing the traffic laws???

I have already e-mailed my support on this to Congressman Vargas.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 13, 2014 at 12:38 p.m. ― 2 years ago

_uckkkapoop1 is just mad because his trailer parkkk application was refused.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 13, 2014 at 1:46 p.m. ― 2 years ago

An illegal alien carrying the card can be easily identified if they are questioned by DHS, ICE, DEA, or by state and local police if they go to Arizona or any other state.

Anything that makes illegal aliens more trackable (and thus deportable) is a good thing.

Especially when the pendulum swings back to the center in California and justice and the rule of law prevail again. Then we'll have a nice list of people to deport.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 13, 2014 at 3:18 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Missionaccomplished - I would rather they be deported, denied free health care, education, or any form of government assistance. As the DMV says, driving on the public roads is a privilege not a right. Why do illegal criminals deserve the privilege of driving on our roads? They do not pay taxes for the police and firemen that patrol them. They should not even be in this country. Why validate their illegal existence by awarding them a license to drive?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 13, 2014 at 7:11 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Yeah, John Markkk, I am very well aware of your simplistic and punitive "solutions" to a complex socio-economic and foreign policy problem.

Anytime I see the the word "criminal," I immediately see the word "nativist," so it is not surprising to me.

You are right about privilege and as long as they don't get a DUI or something similar, there is NO problem. Right? Just like you or I.

This is not the forum, John Markkk, but it is always amazing to me how the Nativist are always the least informed. You speak in wide, general, all-encompassing terms. The fallacies abound. If they make non-food purchases, they pay a tax. If they own a home or business, they pay a tax. If they get paid with a check, they pay a tax. I don't rent, but I am sure that part of what people pay rent for, goes towards the landlord's property tax. So please, don't spread falsehoods. It certainly doesn't help your argument.

In the meantime, do yourself a favor and inform yourself:
RAND Study Shows Relatively Little Public Money Spent ... › Newsroom › News Releases › 2006
Nov 14, 2006 - November 14, 2006 News Release: AND Study Shows Relatively Little Public Money Spent Providing Health Care to Undocumented

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Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | May 13, 2014 at 7:13 p.m. ― 2 years ago

the argument that illegals come here to help their families back home appears to be doubtful --- that many after a couple years remarry or start new families and DO NOT support their families back home. so, the argument that they are here to take care of their families isn't necessarily true.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 13, 2014 at 7:13 p.m. ― 2 years ago

CA Off, no we don't want "Scarlet Letters" on drivers licenses. I contacted Congressman Vargas expressing my support.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 13, 2014 at 7:19 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Regressivebooty, mmmaybe you should ask where people wire mon

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 13, 2014 at 7:31 p.m. ― 2 years ago

“The arguments against licensing undocumented drivers are as hollow as the arguments against providing health care and education to undocumented migrants and their children. These people are forced to drive to navigate our automobile-based culture. They cannot buy insurance without holding a driver’s license. By denying them driver’s licenses, we fool ourselves if we think that will keep them off the highway. Instead they will drive without insurance and often without knowing the laws and customs of our highways since they are not forced to learn them in order to pass the driver’s test that we’re not allowing them to take.” -- Peter Laufer Wetback Nation, (R. Dees, 2004) p 160

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 13, 2014 at 9:07 p.m. ― 2 years ago

There are millions of undocumented residents in this country.

A policy of rounding all of them up and deporting them would be as impossible, expensive, resource-draining and pointless as the war on drugs.

Anybody who looks at illegal immigration objectively, logically, and economically would agree with me.

The main argument I hear from the "deport them all" crowd seems to be pure spite - they are people who are afraid of America's changing demographics and hide behind the "illegal" aspect.

Smoking weed is illegal, but going around and rounding up every weed smoker and throwing them in jail would be impossible.

Going around and rounding up all illegal residents would also be impossible.

As long as they are here and they are willing to work, and pay taxes, why shouldn't they be allowed to drive?

In fact, being able to drive will make it easier for them to work and pay taxes!!

But the haters wouldn't like that, now would they? It would erode their "they are lazy" argument.

Again, spite and hate make the argument against whereas logic and economics make a solid argument in favor of the licenses.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 13, 2014 at 9:10 p.m. ― 2 years ago

progressivebut hey, please cite the sources of your statements.

From what I have read, many do support their families back home.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 13, 2014 at 11:12 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Mission - sorry the truth hurts your feelings. I called these people criminals. They are criminals. They are breaking the law simply be being in this country. Stating a simple fact is nativist? Do you even know what nativism is?

And secondly, all-encompassing terms... well, yes, I can safely say that every single illegal alien in this country is in fact a an illegal alien, a criminal, breaking the law. There is nothing wrong with telling the truth.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 14, 2014 at 9:03 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Proof of auto insurance should be required at issuance or renewal and the licenses should be valid for no more than 2 years at a time.

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Avatar for user 'Biglittlejoe'

Biglittlejoe | May 14, 2014 at 6:20 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Even when in written word, ILLEGAL ALIENS end up making people do more and cost more.

A quote from the article:

"Congressman Juan Vargas is urging the federal government to approve California’s plans to offer a new driver’s license for people living in the state without legal immigration status."

Could read like this:

"Congressman Juan Vargas is urging the federal government to approve California’s plans to offer a new driver’s license for ILLEGAL ALIENS"

Look at the space I saved!!!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 18, 2014 at 10:01 a.m. ― 2 years ago

John Markkk, it is NOT my feelings. Failing to speak to an immigration officer is . . . oh my God . . . HORROR OF HORRORS.

Deportations themselves are CIVIL PROCEEDINGS; NOT criminal ones. Look it up.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 18, 2014 at 10:04 a.m. ― 2 years ago

LITTLEBIGTOE, hey, long time no viddy from the old signonsandiego days. I see the ignorance continues!

Do yourself a favor and do a little research on the subject next time before you speak. Download the following PDF file:

ImmIgratIon Myths And The Facts - US Chamber of Commerce
United States Chamber of Commerce
IMMIGRATION MYTHS AND THE FACTS BEHIND THE FALLACIES ... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will continue to work for common-sense comprehensive.

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Avatar for user 'Oscar83'

Oscar83 | May 23, 2014 at 4:49 p.m. ― 2 years ago

@muckapoo1 - Please do elaborate how illegal immigrants have more rights than a citizen please? or you are just saying that because you are uneducated and a immigrant came to take your job flipping burgers?

@JeanMarc - They do not pay taxes? explain then why your GOP party are saying that reforming immigration and granting illegals with a form of residence will not change the tax income that much, they are basically clamming that most illegals already pay taxes too. Unless you know something that your party doesn't know I would suggest you let them know ASAP. lol

Its incredible the racism of people and the lack of compassion everybody self proclaims constantly for other people in the world.
I would suggest you try to put yourself in the shoes of an immigrant a person that wants to become more than they already are, that want to build a better future for their families, try living in a country filled with corruption, violence when every morning you don't know if you will be seeing your family again.

Oh yeah the big argument is coming right? Why they don't change something on their country and go back!! guess what because every time that someone tries something like that they get wiped off the face of the earth and no one cares.
In fact i would suggest you do the same why don't you organize a revolt against your government so you can kick everyone that is not white out to their countries?

Its easier to talk, than try to understand and looks things in a more positive why huh?

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