Immigration advocates in California have tried to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license for a while. For the past 14 years, proponents have been unsuccessful. However, many supporters believe that this year may be different.
A California Democrat has proposed a bill that would allow driver’s licenses to be issued to anyone who has a federal taxpayer identification number or other document that the DMV accepts, regardless of their immigration status.
Supporters of the proposed bill believe this year it will have a better chance at passing because of the changes made to California’s Congress. Many think the bill will have bipartisan support, which has never happened in previous years.
Many people support the proposed bill, especially after the California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a report finding that unlicensed drivers were three times more likely to cause a fatal car accident. They claim that allowing immigrants to have driver’s licenses would make sure they are trained, tested and insured before driving on California roads.
Opponents of the bill state that could become “gateway identification” used to board airplanes as well as applying for public benefits.
California has roughly 2.8 million undocumented immigrants living throughout the state. Supporters of the bill are hopeful that it will go into law and think that Gov. Jerry Brown would also support the measure. California’s governor previously signed legislation that allowed 400,000 undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s license as part of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
For now, Californians will have to wait and see if this year is truly the year when undocumented immigrants are able to obtain driver’s licenses.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “California advocates believe this is the year for immigrant driver’s licenses,” Jim Sanders, Jan. 23, 2013
Our law firm helps undocumented immigrants facing deportation, applying for U.S. citizenship and facing U.S. immigration issues. To learn more about our law firm, please visit our U.S. Immigration Law page.