California to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants
September 13, 2013
A bill to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants residing in California passed the legislature Thursday, and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. [NBC LA]
Driver’s license cards issued in accordance with AB 60, which passed both the Assembly and the Senate Thursday, will indicate that they serve as identification only for the purpose of driving. The identification cards will not establish eligibility for employment, voting or public benefits.
The state estimates that the new law will allow about 2 million people in California to drive legally.
“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Brown said in a statement. “Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”
Prior to late Thursday, lawmakers had tabled the bill due to opposition from immigrant-rights groups that objected to the issuance of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants that differ in appearance from standard licenses.
But, Latino lawmakers in the Senate revived the bill during the final hours of a legislative session, and it later passed the Assembly by a 55-19 vote.
“This is a very historic night for all immigrant communities,” said Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who authored the bill. “We have had far too many families who have been divided, far too many workers who have been deported, for not having something so basic, so simple, as a driver’s license.
When Brown signs the bill into law, California will become the 10th state in the U.S. to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.