New Budget Spends $65 Million on Illegal Immigrant Drivers 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 January 1, 2015, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget plan released January 9.

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.

Brown Signs Drivers License Legislation

Brown Signs Drivers License Legislation

“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.

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.”



No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment