Calif. OKs Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 11:31 PM

By Jim Meyers

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The California legislature has approved a bill that will allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

The measure, which was cleared Thursday by huge margins in both the Assembly and the Senate, was sent on to Gov. Jerry Brown, who said he will sign it, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a sponsor of the bill, said it would prevent situations where immigrants face arrest, heavy fines, and car impoundment when they are pulled over.

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Democratic Sen. Kevin Leon added, "This measure will ensure that all drivers on California highways are properly trained, properly licensed, and properly insured."

The bill requires the licenses for undocumented immigrants to have special markings indicating their status. The licenses will be issued as driving-only identifications, which cannot be used to help establish eligibility for employment, voting, or seeking public benefits.

Critics of the legislation argue that the licenses would not make illegal immigrants safer drivers or guarantee that they get auto insurance to help protect themselves and other drivers.

The ability of undocumented immigrants to drive legally in California was outlawed in 1993. Several earlier attempts to restore it cleared the legislature but were vetoed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


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