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This past month the Golden State passed legislation to legally grant illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain driver’s licenses. Illegal immigration rights have been challenged throughout the past year, both at the federal and state level. Once again, it is California that has proven to be the most progressive state in the United States.

Transportation is one of the most expensive systems in California. There are millions of commuters that have to get to work by their vehicles, but there is a large population of immigrants who are not licensed and continue to drive. Driving without a license, as we all know, is illegal. Yet there are still individuals who have no other option but to commute without proper documentation.

With so much commercial activity, it is impossible to have a perfect system. Driving is a way of life. It seems inevitable to avoid an accident, or for a law to not be broken.

The question as to how this new proposal affects us all here, in the state of California, can be easily debated. In my eyes, this bill could yield positive results in three areas.

First, economically speaking, this bill would promote commuting throughout the state. Immigrants will now actually be able to purchase cars and register them. Millions of cars are used without the proper insurance care, and now with licenses this may no longer be an issue.

Second, socially, the commuters in California can travel the streets feeling a bit safer. There are an uncountable amount of accidents every day. Some of them involve unlicensed drivers. Driving without a license can result in a major fine, and the removal of the driver’s car. Knowing this, results in major fear for the person who might have been involved in an accident. Therefore, they can choose to either face the consequences or flee. The term “hit-and-run” is very common here in California.

Illegally undocumented immigrants would now be forced to go through the proper documentation to drive.

Undocumented drivers would now have a way for authorities to track them down should they need to. There are countless amounts of identity forgeries that occur, and having a license would help get rid of that problem.

Last but not least, this whole legislative measure could have an impact politically. The past couple of years in the United States have been a time where awareness has spread on several unsolved issues. Immigration has been one of the most controversial. To this date, Washington has not been able to reach any settlements on the issue.

California has taken initiative and made these issues a priority on their agenda. Their mentality has been if the federal government does not enforce any new measures to accommodate the existing population in the United States, then it is the duty of California’s government to make their state safer for their residents.

I for one believe that this is a positive new law. Immigration is proving itself to be an issue that cannot be ignored. This population exists even if we choose to neglect them.

California taking these bold steps may prove to serve as an example for all the legislators to make decisions in the best interest of the whole nation.

 

Martha Morales is a first-year English major. She can be reached at mamoral3@uci.edu

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