Brown approves driver’s licenses for young undocumented immigrants
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The governor signed a bill Sunday that will let hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants qualify for California driver’s licenses.
Young people would qualify if they are accepted by a federal program giving work permits to those who came to this country before they were 16 and are now 30 or younger.
As many as 350,000 undocumented immigrants in California may be eligible for the Obama administration program, which waives the threat of deportation for two years for those who have no criminal record.
Brown spokesman Gil Duran said that by issuing the driver’s licenses, the state will merely be adhering to the new federal rules imposed by the White House.
“Gov. Brown believes the federal government should pursue comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship,” Duran said. “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.’'
The state Department of Motor Vehicles has concluded the federal program appears to confer a status on undocumented immigrants that would qualify them for licenses, but the bill by Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) clarifies that any papers issued by the federal program are sufficient to get a license.
‘I’m proud the governor chose public safety over the politics of the day,’' Cedillo said.
The legislation signed by the governor is AB 2189.
-- Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York in Sacramento