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Stop the undocumented from getting driver’s licenses? California plan would reverse law

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Starting Jan. 22, Californians need to apply for a new, federally-approved driver's license or ID before the old ones become invalid for air travel.
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Starting Jan. 22, Californians need to apply for a new, federally-approved driver's license or ID before the old ones become invalid for air travel.

An initiative that would reverse a law that allows immigrants residing in California illegally to obtain driver’s licenses has been cleared to begin gathering signatures for the 2020 ballot.

The proposal also seeks to eliminate the current “sanctuary state” law and end automatic voter registration practices in California. Don Rosenberg, the main proponent of the proposal and a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, said he believes the plan will increase public safety, reduce voter fraud and prevent traffic fatalities.

More than 1 million illegal immigrants in California have been issued driver’s licenses since Assembly Bill 60 took effect in 2015.

“The line that AB 60 will make the roads safer was totally bull,” Rosenberg said. “It is not safer. It was a complete lie.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 60, introduced by former Assemblyman Luis Alejo, in 2013.

A study published by the National Academy of Sciences reported that hit-and-run accidents dropped after AB 60 became law two years later. Data from the National Safety Council show that motor vehicle-related deaths jumped 10 percent in California from 2015 through 2017, but the council did not suggest any cause for the increase.

Rosenberg announced his intent to launch the initiative in April. He became a vocal adversary of illegal immigration after his son was killed in San Francisco in 2010. Drew Rosenberg, then 25, was hit on a motorcycle by an unlicensed driver who had been granted temporary immigration status to remain in the U.S. Rosenberg said the driver originally entered the country illegally.

He blames California politicians and immigrants that reside in the state without legal authorization for his son’s death. He appeared in television ads opposing the sanctuary state law last year.

California and the city of Sacramento are testing out new digital license plates

Rosenberg’s initiative would require every law enforcement agency in California to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the antithesis of the ‘sanctuary state’ law. Police would also be required to verify the legal status of every person they arrest for other crimes and suspect to be in violation of federal immigration law. The person’s legal status would be turned over to the federal government.

The plan would require new voters to sign an affidavit and provide proof of their citizenship with a birth certificate, passport or federal databases.

Citizens would have to provide similar proof to obtain a driver’s license or identification card. Immigrants residing in California without legal authorization would be banned from seeking or renewing their driver’s license.

The California Secretary of State late last month said Rosenberg could begin collecting the 365,880 voter signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot. The signatures must be submitted to county election offices no later than Dec. 19.

Editor’s Note: This story was corrected to reflect that a study published by the National Academy of Sciences reported that hit-and-run accidents dropped after AB 60 became law.

Wait times at DMV offices increased this year due to added processing for new REAL ID cards and startup problems with a new numbered queuing system.

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