LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in California can now apply for a driver’s license, thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Brown.
State assemblyman Gil Cedillo’s bill will essentially make 500,000 illegal immigrants eligible to legally be on the road—and technically, legally be in the country.
“I’m very pleased that the governor demonstrated incredible courage and leadership. He put public safety ahead of the politics of the day,” said Cedillo.
The bill goes hand-in-hand with President Obama’s federal work permit program that he mandated with an executive order last June.
Under the plan, every undocumented person who came to the United States before they were 16 and are now 30 years old or younger, have a GED or high school diploma, and have no felonies, can obtain work permits and stay in the country.
It was up to each state to determine if they also wanted the illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license.
California said yes.
“You have to qualify with the federal government, with ICE, with Homeland Security. They will give you a document that says: ‘You have qualified.’ You take that to the DMV,” said Cedillo.
A woman, who wished to remain anonymous because of her illegal status, said she’s happy about Brown’s decision, as she has been driving without a license for the past three years.
“It’s a requirement for daily life. I have two girls. I have to pick one of them up from school,” she said.
Critics have long said it’s wrong to grant a license to undocumented immigrants.