Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 22 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

California gives immigrants driver's licenses

By Amy Taxin

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:30 a.m. HST, Oct 03, 2013

LOS ANGELES » Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill today adding California to the growing list of states allowing immigrants living in the country illegally to obtain driver licenses.

Immigrant advocates have long lobbied for the change in the nation's most populous state. The licenses would carry a distinction on the front of the card that states the document may be used for driving, not as federal identification.

Several immigrant advocates initially raised concerns that the marker will contribute to racial profiling. The bill includes protections against discrimination.

Brown predicted that California's endorsement of driver's licenses for immigrants will mean more states will follow.

"This is only the first step," he told a cheering crowd at the signing ceremony outside City Hall in Los Angeles. "When a million people without their documents drive legally and with respect in the state of California, the rest of this country will have to stand up and take notice. No longer are undocumented people in the shadows."

Brown was scheduled to repeat the signing later in Fresno, the heart of the vast Central Valley agricultural region.

State and local officials touted the importance of getting immigrants properly trained and tested so they know how to drive and know traffic rules in California.

"That's what this bill is about, making the streets of this state safer," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the crowd.

Over the last two decades, immigrant advocates have pushed to get licenses restored in California. The effort took on added significance in recent years as immigrants caught driving without a license began seeing their cars impounded and wound up being screened by federal immigration authorities for deportation.

Most states don't allow immigrants in the country illegally to obtain licenses. But a growing number, including Colorado and Oregon, have passed similar measures to issue marked licenses for driving purposes only.

In California, the bill authored by Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo would grant licenses to anyone who passes written and road tests, regardless of immigration status.

State officials estimate 1.4 million drivers will apply for licenses under the law, which was supported by the state's Police Chiefs Association and insurance authorities.

It isn't clear whether entities like local government offices, libraries or banks will accept the license as a form of identification. The licenses are expected to be issued starting in Jan. 2015.

It isn't the first time the California legislature passed a measure giving licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. Led by former Democratic state lawmaker and current Los Angeles city councilman Gil Cedillo, the legislature passed license bills that were struck down by Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Under Brown, immigrant advocates saw a new opportunity to get a bill signed. The bill is one of several immigrant-friendly measures passed by the legislature this year, including overtime pay for domestic workers and an effort to scale back collaboration between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

Brown has enjoyed strong support among Latino voters, whose numbers are growing in California, and appears to sense how the broader public has become more welcoming toward immigrants even as the debate over an immigration overhaul has stalled in Congress, said Jaime Regalado, emeritus professor of political science at California State University, Los Angeles.

On the steps of City Hall, scores of immigrant rights activists and state and local officials chanted "champion" in Spanish at the mention of his name. In his speech, Brown urged lawmakers in Washington to move forward on more sweeping immigration reform.

Ismael Salvador, a 63-year-old factory worker from El Salvador, turned out to see the bill signing. He said the change will radically alter the lives of his two daughters who are in the country illegally. One risks driving every morning to her job as a lunch truck cook, and the other cleans houses and relies on rides because she is afraid to get behind the wheel.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 22 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
thepartyfirst wrote:
Yeah but can they read, write and understand english?
on October 3,2013 | 09:33AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Good point as all signs on USA roads are in English.
on October 3,2013 | 12:15PM
AhiPoke wrote:
I don't understand. If the license clearly indicates that it's issued to "illegal" immigrants but it protects them from arrest, what is their status? How is this any different than than saying there are no illegals?
on October 3,2013 | 09:38AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
That's exactly what I was thinking. Hey Mexicans, California is all yours for the taking!
on October 4,2013 | 02:06AM
hnlstar808 wrote:
WHY, those immigrants are here ILLEGALLY. They shouldn't be allowed to get driver's license. Had they come here legally, then it's ok.
on October 3,2013 | 09:44AM
Grimbold wrote:
Foul deeds pandering to lawbreakers destroy our country. California is already bankrupt thanks to becoming mexicanized.
on October 3,2013 | 09:58AM
South76 wrote:
I agree with you, these are law breakers--they should be rounded, arrested and deported end of story.....but the liberals are not going to do that because these are the same bunch of law breakers who will provided them with votes, ILLEGAL VOTES, that is. Why do you think the liberals are pushing for no ID when going to vote, they need all the parasites they could muster.
on October 3,2013 | 10:37AM
Grimbold wrote:
How does Mexico ruin America? By the mentality of their inhabitants who are invading the US. I have a house in a nice neighborhood on the mainland, and my rental agent rented to Mexicans. Recently I visited there and the US neighbors said to me: 'the way these people carry on is pulling down the neighborhood.'
on October 3,2013 | 10:04AM
JAFO wrote:
Disband the INS in California. Useless.
on October 3,2013 | 10:04AM
eastside808 wrote:
Illegal immigrants get licenses and are able to take the exam in their native language. That's why California is going broke. With this legislation, I expect to see a lot more accidents as a result of immigrants with little grasp of the English language. I am glad I dont live in California. In California, you need to be able to drive to get anywhere. In Hawaii, this is not the case where we have a really good bus system. If we were to pass legislation similar to California, I hope we also do away with language interpreters, etc. and require that the driver's exam and road tests are in English ONLY.
on October 3,2013 | 10:05AM
kispest wrote:
Same on the voting ballot!
on October 3,2013 | 11:49AM
nitpikker wrote:
so now, who wants a mexican consulate in hawaii???
on October 3,2013 | 10:58AM
Jonas wrote:
Absolutely ridiculous. Only country in the world that would do this.
on October 3,2013 | 11:24AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Also only country in the world who is rich enough such that illegal aliens would want to live here. California is really Mexico North in some places, and especially in Los Angeles, so this will help the Federal Government crack down on illegal aliens. I bet most illegal aliens will not get driver's licenses as they will have to admit they are illegal aliens in the first place. There has to be a law that will allow authorities to impound cars once a Police Officer finds out a car is driven by a person without a license. Be proactive Uncle Neil and get off your rocking chair and your weed !!!
on October 3,2013 | 12:35PM
kispest wrote:
California, home of all the useless liberals and aliens. Now the illegals can drive legaly to drug deals, burglaries and rapes. Very soon coming to Hawaii.
on October 3,2013 | 11:48AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Also home of Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Apple, Google, Intel, Facebook, Motorola, Kristiana Tuianiga, Mita Uiato and Emily Hartong.
on October 3,2013 | 12:19PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
"LOS ANGELES » Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill today adding California to the growing list of states allowing immigrants living in the country illegally to obtain driver licenses." Neil? At least this kind of legislation will help identify illegal aliens, which must include a percentage of Hawaii's population, including the homeless. Then again homeless will not be able to afford cars. Furthermore, it will help identify those that do not have car insurance.

The quickest way to reduce the population of cars is to require a $5,000 deposit with the City to have the privilege of owning a car. Then after the database is set up, police can impound cars that did not deposit the $5,000, to help reduce morning and Pau Hana rush hour traffic. Why spend billions on Rail, unless your cousin is in construction right? The $5,000 can be used in a fund to resurface our roads and when a person does not own a car anymore, the $5,000 will be returned. A quasi savings account !!!

on October 3,2013 | 12:15PM
WAIT WAIT WAIT. Giving illegal immigrants a driver's license? Will he pay the taxes for road repair, etc. There is a lot to consider. Illigal! aree you for real NO WONDER OUR FEDERAL GOVENMENT SHUT DOWN, NOW THE STATE GOVERNMENT ARE MAKING MISTAKES.
on October 3,2013 | 01:10PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
u been to Chinaman's Hat?
on October 3,2013 | 04:49PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Oh I guess not
on October 3,2013 | 04:49PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Guess not what?
on October 3,2013 | 04:50PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I just drove from Pearlridge to Kahala and the trip took 30 minutes, as it seemed the H-1 was a little quiet, considering the federal shutdown. As I passed the Punahou off ramp area, I noticed that said offramp was eerily empty. Aha !!! That means that those that work at Pearl Harbor must get off there at the Punahou offramp a lot.
on October 3,2013 | 04:54PM
Breaking News