This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

California Makes Some Accommodations for Undocumented Immigrants

It has been a busy few legislative days in California, in stark contrast to the shutdown of the US government. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill a few days ago that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses (and thus liability insurance), joining several other states (including Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, Utah and Washington) that have passed such legislation. Michael Gardner and Elizabeth Aguilera of the San Diego Union-Tribune remind us that in California this is really a reversion to the way it used to be:
For 65 years, California issued licenses without requiring proof of status. But in 1993, lawmakers reacted to a wave of anti-unauthorized immigrant sentiment and passed a law that required applicants to provide documentation.
The licenses will have a special notation and they will not be valid for other identification purposes. It is expected to take a year for the DMV to get this all organized.

A couple of days later, Gov. Brown signed other legislation that would limit the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants if they are arrested only for a minor crime. He also signed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to practice law under certain circumstances (aimed partly at limiting the exploitation of immigrants by unscrupulous immigration lawyers).

However, the Governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed non-citizens to serve on juries in California. “Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship,” Brown said in his veto message. That was basically my thought on the subject.

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