California Passes Bill to Issue Driving License to some U.S. Immigrants

Friday, 31 August 2012

The bill allowing some young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain driving licenses was passed on August 30, 2012.

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Assembly member Gilbert Cedillo who sponsors the bill expressed that he was confident Democratic Governor Jerry Brown would sign it into law as it had passed the state Assembly by a 55-15 vote before.

"It is a victory for those who were brought here through no fault of their own, played by the rules, and are only asking to be included in and contribute to American society," Cedillo said in a statement.

California's decision follows the Obama administration permission for states to decide on driver's licenses and other services for young U.S. illegal immigrants.

California has the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the United States, and passing the bill marks the latest chapter in a long-running national battle over how to handle illegal immigrants.

California becomes one of the first states to issue driver's licenses to young immigrants who came here illegally as children but are now eligible for U.S. work permits. Three other U.S. states currently allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license: New Mexico, Utah, and Washington. However, California's stance on the matter has been in stark contrast with other states such as Arizona that have passed laws that sought to clamp down on such immigrants.

The bill follows a series of pro-immigrant measures to offer in-state college tuition rates and other services to young U.S. immigrants. Earlier this week, the governor also signed into law a bill encouraging state schools to teach the history of a post-World War Two guest worker program that brought close to 5 million Mexican agricultural laborers into the country over two decades.

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