Friday, October 4, 2013

California allows undocumented migrants to obtain driver's licences

1. California allows undocumented migrants to obtain driver's licences. (2013 October 3) The Guardian.

2. Category of problem: Immigration

3. Level of problem: State level, national level

4. The article concerns: A newly instated California policy allowing migrants living in the country without papers to obtain driver's licenses.

5. Why this is important: The policy will allow undocumented migrants to drive legally so they will no longer have to fear or actively avoid authority while driving, thereby allowing these individuals to come out of, "the shadows". Additionally, undocumented migrants will be able to receive proper driving instruction under the context of California's driving laws.

6. My views on this issue/policy: I'm in favor of California's new policy because I think it creates a model for other states to hopefully follow and encourages greater focus on immigration reform at the federal level. If we allow undocumented migrants to obtain driver's license, we will be encouraging and supporting their entry into the workforce, as well as encouraging smooth integration of immigrants (documented or not) through a show of political solidarity.

The argument against immigration often hinges on the fear that American's will lose their jobs to immigrants who will do the same job (maybe better) at lower wages. California's policy is a step towards state and federal immigration reform, which is a step towards ending the exploitation of immigrant labor (an American practice that has disadvantaged American workers). Additionally, many of the industries in which migrants work are manual labor and low-end service industries - industries that are currently starved for workers, despite the unemployment rate. Also, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the funding of Social Security will rely most heavily on the shoulders of migrant workers, who tend to enter the U.S. at relatively young ages.

The policy will also allay every day fears that immigrants have of being confronted by the authorities for any reason. Immigrants will now feel safer on their morning commutes or trips to to the grocery store, not having to worry whether or not they will face deportation. This will encourage a better sense of community, and a feeling that they are not being disenfranchised or hunted by the society they live in. Successful integration will decrease deviancy and increase solidarity in areas with migrants, making communities safer for everyone. This is particularly true on the road, as migrants can now be formally instructed on the driving laws and expectations of the state they live in.

I believe our economies and our communities benefit from supporting migrants, documented or not.

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