Federal authorities will no longer be able to use California driver’s license databases to obtain information from undocumented immigrants after 2020, according to a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
The measure “will help prevent the misuse of state police databases against immigrants whose only crime was to enter the United States illegally,” said San Diego Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who pushed the measure after Newsom signed the law.
“This will ensure that California residents are not targeted for their driver’s license,” she said.
The new law only authorizes the use of information from undocumented immigrants who obtained their licenses in cases related to criminal investigations conducted by federal agencies.
The initiative arose after federal immigration authorities had access to copies of driver’s licenses obtained by undocumented immigrants under AB60 that contained their personal data in some undocumented immigrant detentions, according to media reports.
The new law also authorizes the California Attorney General’s Office to conduct audits to ensure that users of the California Law Enforcement Agencies Telecommunications System (CLETS) comply with the measure.
“Our state has not been successful despite our diversity, our state is successful because of it,” Newsom said as he signed the law.
AB60, which went into effect in 2015, offers undocumented drivers the opportunity to obtain a California driver’s license, which at the time was argued to be important for improving road safety in the “golden state.
In the first year of its application, nearly 605,000 driver’s licenses were issued to undocumented immigrants, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and in April 2018 the figure exceeded 1 million.