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City Committee to Examine Proposed State Bill Giving Undocumented Workers ID Cards

Published on Monday, June 27, 2022 | 5:48 am
 

The Pasadena City Council’s Legislative Policy Committee on Tuesday will take a look at a measure being discussed at committee level in the California State Assembly that would give undocumented workers restricted state ID cards. 

Assembly Bill 1766, called “California IDs For All,” would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a restricted ID card to an eligible applicant who is able to provide proof of identity and California residency, even if he or she is unable to submit satisfactory proof that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. 

If the bill is passed, the DMV would have to begin issuing the ID cards by January 2024.

Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) introduced AB 1766 in February. The bill is now awaiting debate at the State Assembly’s Transportation and Judiciary Committees. 

“Lack of identification is one of the largest barriers to success into the community because IDs are essential to securing employment, housing, and social services,” Stone said in a statement in April. “AB 1766 is an essential gateway to social inclusion and should be a basic necessity that every resident has access to.”

Under current legislation, specifically through AB 60, passed in 2013, people who are undocumented are able to obtain a restricted driver’s license, but are not eligible for a California ID. 

Presenting the problem that the bill intends to solve, Stone said there are approximately 2.7 million undocumented people in California. Since more than a million people have obtained a driver’s license under AB 60, Stone said there are approximately 1.7 million undocumented people who are eligible and could benefit from having a state government-issued identification card.

Essentially, AB 1766 AB 1766 will expand California Identification Card eligibility to all California residents, regardless of whether they’re in the United States legally or not. 

Since its introduction, AB 1766 has earned the support of several civic organizations throughout the state – including at least 60 that listed themselves as supporters when the bill was introduced – but has been opposed as well by other groups and individuals, including some in the law enforcement community and a number of landlords and homeowners’ organizations. 

In a statement accompanying AB 1766 as it went on third reading in May, supporters of the bill said identification cards “enable inclusion and meaningful participation in our neighborhoods, cities, and our state.” 

“They allow one to open a bank account, obtain benefits, access healthcare, secure housing, and much more. AB 60 (Alejo, 2013) opened the door for undocumented people, who can provide proof of identity and California residency, to obtain a valid legal driver’s license. However, undocumented people who do not have meaningful access to a car, or have the ability to take a driving test are ineligible to obtain a government-issued ID,” the statement said. 

Landlords said having an ID that shows whether a tenant is a legal citizen or not is critical to their business. 

“Having a not-legal tenant brings many problems, not the least of them being deported and you suddenly being left with an apartment full of stuff and needing to turn around and rent it out as soon as possible,” a landlord identified only as “James” told the California Globe in March. 

Law enforcement agents and officials say the new measure would make it harder for them to do their job. 

“If someone’s legal status needs to be determined, this just makes everything all the more harder,” the Globe quoted a law enforcement officer. “It helps prevent us from doing our job. I feel for those who need these to open up a bank account or whatever, but the laws are like what they are now for a reason.” 

Pasadena residents can access the discussion at the City Council’s Legislative Policy Committee through http://pasadena.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish id=9 and www.pasadenamedia.org

During the meeting, members of the public may provide live public comment by submitting a speaker card through www.cityofpasadena.net/commissions/public-comment. They may also submit correspondence of any length prior to the start of the meeting by email to tsabha@cityofpasadena.net

The meeting opens at 2 p.m. 

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