Undocumented US Immigrants in California Can Now Apply for a Driver's License

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

On September 30, 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that allows undocumented US immigrants in California to apply for a driver's license.

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The bill was signed after US courts supported the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which protects children of US immigrants who have "aged-out" while waiting for their green card to be processed.

A huge percentage of undocumented immigrants were brought about by the backlog on green card processing. After reaching 21 years old, they are no longer qualified to be a US immigrant under their parent's application, making their stay in the country illegal.

Only undocumented US immigrants who were accepted under the CSPA will be allowed to apply for a California driver's license.

"Gov. Brown believes the federal government should pursue comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship," said Brown's spokesman Gil Duran.

Duran added, "President Obama has recognized the unique status of these students, and making them eligible to apply for driver’s licenses is an obvious next step."

Creator of the bill Gil Cedillo said, "It's a victory for those who were brought here through no choice of their own, played by the rules, and are only asking to be included in and contribute to American society."

Opponents are not pleased with the bill pointing out, "California should be careful on handing out driver's licenses because they are used as identification for many other purposes, including entering airline terminals."

Governor Brown also vetoed the 'Trust Act', known as AB 1081. Sponsored by Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman, the bill could have led to limiting the deportation of unlawful immigrants involved in non-violent or minor offences.

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