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Budget details costs for immigrants’ licenses

Providing up to 1.4 million driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants will cost $65 million for the Department of Motor Vehicles during the first six months after the law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly proposed budget.

Lawmakers had debated the issue of whether illegal immigrants should have licenses for 20 years prior to approving legislation to do so in September. When he ran for governor in 2010, Brown said he opposed such a measure as “piecemeal” but last year reversed himself.

            Applicants under the new program will pay the same $33 as other Californians seeking a drivers license, defraying state costs by an estimated $46 million, the Brown administration projects.

“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Brown said in a signing statement. “Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”

When the Democratic majority Legislature gave final approval to the bill, the DMV said it would cost “approximately $140 million to $220 million over three years to issue approximately 1.4 million new driver’s licenses,” according to a September 12 Assembly Floor Analysis.

The $65 million contained in the $151 billion spending plan presented by Brown covers only the costs during the second half of the fiscal year beginning July 1 – not future fiscal years.

Money to cover the added costs comes from the state’s Motor Vehicle Account, which the Democratic governor expects will collect $3.1 billion during the next fiscal year, mainly in vehicle and license fees.

Applicants under the new program will pay the same $33 as other Californians seeking a drivers license, defraying state costs by an estimated $46 million, the Brown administration projects.

      To cope with the influx of applicants, the DMV says it will open five temporary offices around the state.

 

Under the new law — AB 60 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a Salinas Democrat, – a driver can get a license from the DMV without having a Social Security Number as long as they show other valid identification documents and proof of California residency.

Brown’s budget plan still expects a three-year implementation and assumes that 38 percent of applicants request driver’s licenses during the first six months of 2015, 50 percent from July 1, 2105 to June 30, 2016 and the remaining 12 percent during the following fiscal year.

“Based on estimated timelines to secure new field offices, recruit and train 822 staff, make necessary system changes and obtain federal approval of the redesigned driver’s licenses, the budget proposes $64.7 million to implement the program beginning January 1, 2015,” Brown’s spending blueprint says.

That number is predicated on the necessary staff being hired by September 2014 and trained before January 1 of next year.

To cope with the influx of applicants, the DMV says it will open five temporary offices around the state.

Existing field offices will also accept driver’s license applications by appointment, the budget says. “If necessary, the DMV will offer appointments on Saturdays at specified locations.”

The five new temporary locations will be located in the San Jose area, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and the South Central Coast. Brown says h offices will operate for two to three areas and new DMV offices in Fresno and Lancaster “will address the increased application workload in those areas.”

Ed’s Note:  Greg Lucas, contributing editor of Capitol Weekly, is the editor and publisher of California’s Capitol, where this story first appeared.

 


  • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

    Why does it cost the state over $70 per license? If it actually takes that much money to issue licenses the fee needs to be raised, it shouldn’t cost the state to provide the license. I suspect it costs that much because the DMV is a bloated government agency loaded down with people who get paid to do not much.

  • Laurelishish Nish

    If illegals are not suppose to be able to get jobs over here, why do they need a driver license to get safely to and from their jobs?

    • concerned american

      Great question? It appears some laws are meant to be broken by our politicians and the government but when the citizens break a law it’s an immediate citation or arrest. There are numerous underlying concerns to this issue such as proper documentation to prove the real identity of the illegal, past driving history (citations, accidents and DMV status), and hopefully the testing (written and driving) to name a few. I guess we’ll have to sit back and see what this fair system of ours will do next.

  • Just Me

    These politician’s tell you what you want to hear until they get into office. Once they are in office the game changes, and everything is done NOT to help the AMERICAN CITIZENS…I just wonder why do we continue to vote??

  • Michael Davis

    By issuing driver licenses to illegal aliens, the state is complicit is violating federal law.

  • impoundguy

    More freebees for breaking the law….wonderful. If you live in Mexico and don’t try to get here for the free ride you have to be a very special kind of stupid….I mean how much better can it get except maybe a check for $250k upon arrival just for showing up.

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