7. Little access to public services in the states 

A non-citizen immigrant is supposed to have access to public services such as a driver’s license, health care facilities, and so on. However, the extent to which they can access these services are limited and are still debated. In about 32 states, lawful immigrants (both mothers and children) were allowed access to health insurance in 2016. Undocumented immigrants were denied access. Therefore, many of them resorted to health centers that do not check the status of a person’s citizenship.  

In about 20 states during the same year, undocumented immigrants were given in-state education fees. All that the states required, (in conformity with the National Conference of State Legislatures) is in attendance, proof of graduation from a state high-school, a proof of acceptance at a state’s college/university, and a promise to register to be a legal citizen of the state. 6 states forbade undocumented immigrants from having access to in-state education fees. Some other states in the country didn’t have any official policy concerning the issue.  

In 2001, certain criteria had to be met by undocumented immigrants in California before they could access in-state tuition. The criteria are: 

– must have attended a public high school in the state for (at least) 3 years 

– should have obtained a GED or a diploma 

– should have been already accepted at an accredited university/college in the state 

-must apply to be legal citizens of the state and sign an affidavit to prove it. 

The state of California further established another law in 2011, stating that individuals that meet the above requirements and attended the state’s university/college have access to scholarships.  

Concerning driver’s licenses for unlawfully residing immigrants, the debate was centered on public safety. Some people; such as the Boston Globe editorial board, argued that if these immigrants were to be given licenses, then public safety would be guaranteed. This is because they would adhere to road safety rules and also use insured cars. However, some others like the CIS argued that handing them licenses would do the total opposite. They viewed the act as legitimizing and encouraging illegal immigration. They also argued that it would jeopardize the safety of the public and the national security because a license would give them access to important places and pieces of information.  

Apart from the fact that they would be allowed to drive freely and legally in the state as illegal citizens, they would be able to open bank accounts and identify themselves as citizens of the state. However, in 2015 (following the National Conference of State Legislatures), 12 states legislated laws that allowed undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses.  

8. Financial Effects could stop them 

There is another theory on whether immigration brings in financial benefit or loss to the states. Some groups looked into calculating the economic costs and gain that the concept of immigration would bring to California. In some hypotheses, immigration produces a net gain to the country’s economy on the account of the goods and services that they would provide.  

Some other hypotheses concluded that immigrants would cause a loss to the economy of the state because of the additional dependence on healthcare, welfare services, and education.  

9. Impact on the Economy 

A lot of scholars and policy analysts have also argued on the impact of immigration on the economies of the state and the nation at large. Shikha Dalma, known by the Reason Foundation, said that immigration would not only be a good thing for immigrants (moving into a better environment). It could also erase world poverty by increasing the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  

Some other scholars stated that immigration would have both positive and negative effects on the economy. Borjas from the University of Harvard said that immigration can increase the wealth of the nation but that some individuals/ organizations might not benefit from it, especially native-borns. This is because the immigrants access more assistance from the government than those that are legally citizens of the state.  

However, there is still yet to be any conclusive result on if immigrants are a total benefit to the economy of California. 


Immigration in California is a major topic for discussion among various scholars and analysts, but the above challenges have not stopped them from residing in the state. However, it’s best for both the documented and the undocumented immigrants to adhere to the state’s laws and policies to live peacefully in their new resident.  

Neda Zaman Esq.
Immigration Attorney in Encino, Los Angeles
Services in English Farsi, Arabic, Armenian, Turkish

Address; 16633 Ventura Blvd suite 510, Encino, CA 91436
Phone: +1(310)855-0992 | +1(818)290-3625