Many landlord and law enforcement groups have continued to raise concern this week over a bill designed to give undocumented workers restricted state ID cards.
Assembly Bill 1766, called “California ID’s For All,” authored by Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a restricted identification card to an eligible applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law if they provide satisfactory proof of identity and California residency. If passed, the DMV would have to begin issuing them by January 2024.
Currently, only restricted driver’s licenses can be given to those who qualified under the same circumstances along with meeting all qualifications for driving licensure, as made law in 2013 under AB 60. Assembly Stone wrote AB 1766 due to licenses and other identification being needed to open a bank account, get healthcare, verify housing, and other economic and societal needs currently only allowed for illegal immigrants who have driver’s licenses. By expanding California Identification Card (CA ID) eligibility to all Californians, regardless of their immigration status, it would also limit the commonly use tactic by authorities to ask for ID and see if they are legal by what they are given.
“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,” Assemblyman Stone said last month in a press release. “AB 1766 is an essential gateway to social inclusion and should be a basic necessity that every resident has access to.”
Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), who helped introduce the bill, also noted that “Everyone deserves access to identification. This legislation moves us one step closer to true equity for our undocumented neighbors. As Vice-Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, I am proud to partner with Assemblymember Stone on this important legislation and applaud my colleague for his leadership on this issue.”
Opposition to AB 1766
While the bill is currently awaiting debate in the Assembly Transportation and Judiciary Committees, many have joined together to oppose it should AB 1766 be approved later this year. Many law enforcement groups, as well as landlord organizations, have said that there are negatives to the bill that those backing AB 1766 simply don’t wish to see.
“Having an ID that shows them to either be a legal citizen or not is critical,” said LA landlord “James,” who helps lead a landlord neighborhood group, to the Globe on Monday. “Lots of things are needed to b approved, and that means proof of being in this country legally. Visas, green cards, and other forms of ID where they may not be a citizen but show they went through the right channels are accepted. But if you come with no ID, it means you aren’t here legally.”
“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. It saves headaches at the very least.”
Law enforcement officials are also showing a growing concern.
“A restricted license could mean many things,” explained police officer Trent McGuire to the Globe. “Without it, people need to rely on things that definitely conclude if they are here legally or non-legally. If someone’s legal status needs to be determined, this just makes everything all the more harder. 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. You can’t fix it if it isn’t broken.”
AB 1766 is expected to be heard in Assembly committees soon.