Infrastructure & Environment

California Passes Bill to Give More Immigrants Driver's Licenses

Laboring late into the night Thursday to finish their work for the year, state lawmakers acted to allow many more immigrants who are in the country illegally to obtain California driver's licenses, a measure Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign.
September 13, 2013
 

Laboring late into the night Thursday to finish their work for the year, state lawmakers acted to allow many more immigrants who are in the country illegally to obtain California driver's licenses, a measure Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign.

A flurry of additional proposals sent to the governor would also affect immigrants, as well as gun users, teachers and job applicants. In addition, nannies, private healthcare aides and some other domestic workers would receive overtime pay under bill also headed for the governor's desk.

The driver's license measure would significantly expand the number of immigrants in the country illegally who could have such documents. Some young, undocumented residents are already eligible for licenses under state law, if they qualify for temporary federal work permits.

"This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally," Brown said in a statement issued immediately after the bill passed. "Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."

The bill, AB 60, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), originally would have provided licenses to immigrants who could show that they pay taxes or otherwise work in the United States. But it was changed to ask the Department of Motor Vehicles to determine what documentation would be required.

The bill requires a special mark and notation on the licenses, the initials DP (driver's privilege) instead of DL (driver's license). The notation would say the document "does not establish eligibility for employment or public benefit."

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