SACRAMENTO -- The Assembly approved legislation Wednesday that would make it easier for immigrants in the country illegally to obtain California driver’s licenses.
The bill, authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), would allow people to get a license even if they do not qualify for a Social Security number. Instead, they would need to provide multiple documents to establish their identity, including an original birth certificate and proof of residency such as a lease or utility bill.
The bill (AB 60) was approved 53 to 20, with many Republicans voting in opposition.
It now goes to the Senate. If approved and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it would go into effect in January 2015.
Alejo said the legislation would help immigrants qualify to safely drive on California roads without fear of fines or deportation for failing to have a license.
“All they want to do is go to work in peace, make an honest living,” he said.
The Legislature has debated similar proposals for years, and many have failed to reach enactment. Brown signed one into law last year, allowing driver’s licenses for some young immigrants who qualify for a federal program exempting them from deportation.