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~