Gov. Newsom signs a law giving undocumented immigrants another way to get a California ID

Undocumented Californians without driver’s licenses will soon have a new way to obtain state identification cards.|

Undocumented Californians without driver’s licenses will soon have a new way to obtain state identification cards.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill from Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, that gives non-drivers the ability to get ID cards, which were previously off-limits to Golden State residents without legal status.

Undocumented Californians have been able to get driver’s licenses since 2015 under Assembly Bill 60, which former Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2013. But those who don’t drive did not have access to the ID cards the Department of Motor Vehicles issues to residents who can prove they have federal legal status.

Assembly Bill 1766 is intended to help non-driving undocumented residents who might currently use gym membership cards or college IDs if they must show identification, according to an Assembly floor analysis.

The inability to get state ID cards especially hurts undocumented residents who are older, have mobility or eye issues or live with other disabilities that prevent them from getting driver’s licenses, the analysis said. State ID cards make it easier for residents to open bank accounts and access healthcare and public benefits.

The DMV will begin issuing California IDs to undocumented residents in 2027. AB 1766 will give an estimated 1.6 million people access to California IDs, the analysis said.

“California is expanding opportunity for everyone, regardless of immigration status,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re a state of refuge — a majority-minority state, where 27 percent of us are immigrants. That’s why I’m proud to announce the signing of today’s bills to further support our immigrant community, which makes our state stronger every single day.”

Immigrant advocacy groups celebrated the bill signing, saying the policy closes a gap in AB 60.

“Those who have lived through the passage/implementation of #AB60 will know the life-changing consequences it had for our communities,” the California Immigrant Policy Center tweeted. “The ability to access social services, healthcare, to rent, & to feel included as a member of our society.”

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