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Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants?

A new bill could make 2 million California undocumented immigrants eligible for a driver's license.

~Should undocumented immigrants be eligible to receive a driver's license? tell us in the comments below~

A bill making its way through the California State Senate could soon allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally — a decision that some argue is unethical but others point out makes roads safer.

Assembly Bill 60, which was written by Luis Alejo of District 30, looks to reverse a 20-year-old law that made it illegal for anyone without a Social Security number to get a license. Taking that law out of effect would enable 2 million California undocumented immigrants to drive legally.

On July 2, the bill passed the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee with a vote of 8-2.

“Currently, immigrants...unable to get licenses drive anyway without having to pass a driving test or buy auto insurance," Alejo said. "This is why the issue has gained national momentum from both sides of the political spectrum. This year, state after state has been granting licenses to immigrants regardless of their immigration status."

The bill argues that licensing even undocumented people makes roads safer by having virtually all drivers trained, licensed and insured, rather than only legal citizens. 

“Licensed and insured drivers are safer on the road. There is no question about that," Alejo said. "I want to commend the senators that supported the measure today in the Senate Transportation Committee. Their vote will ensure road safety for the 22.6 million motorists in California.”

The California Immigrant Policy Center stands behind the bill.

“Current law undermines highway safety by preventing many motorists from being properly trained, tested, and insured," said Government Affairs Manager Ronald Coleman. "These requirements force many Californians to drive unlicensed and uninsured, undermining the Department of Motor Vehicles' mission to ensure public safety, and limiting law enforcement's ability to effectively perform its duties.” 

According to Fox News, Republicans opposing the bill have said that allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses devalues the license as a form of ID.

"It is a federal document accepted by federal standards to be identification for other means besides driving," said Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman. "It is your security document."

The bill will now be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. It could become law by the beginning of 2015.

~Should undocumented immigrants be eligible to receive a driver's license? tell us in the comments below~
Kim Carney July 05, 2013 at 01:14 PM
I know this is going to sound crazy; but, if you are going to give them governmental documents like a drivers lic, why not just make them legal.
margie chiechi July 05, 2013 at 02:24 PM
I believe they should be allowed to get a license. We have not walked in their shoes. We don't know their circumstances on how they arrived in America, but can only visualize the awful pain staking chances they took for a better life. I can guatantee that the majority of these folks tried to take the proper route here but the Road block of documents, fees and everything else was too much. Several people I know went immediately to the Watsonville area to work. I asked them if there were any "white" people picking the vegetables With them and they laughed. They said even the supervisors were Latino. What does that say? They drove illigally everyday to work. They spent their warning locally and supported the community. That is just one example of why they need to have licenses.
Cynthia Gonzalez Sebastian July 06, 2013 at 02:43 PM
I say YES! It's about driver licenses not Visas or green cards.
Monika Raj July 28, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Yes, they should get it! Better for everyone, safer for everyone!

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