Gov. Jerry Brown signed the AB 60 bill into law today at Los Angeles City Hall, making California the 10th state to give undocumented immigrants the right to obtain a drivers license.
The controversial bill was passed by California legislators last week and is said to give 1.4 million undocumented immigrants a drivers license.
Jesus Juvenal, Co-chairman of Dreams To Be Heard, a group advocating for immigration rights at CSUN, said this bill is a step in the right direction for all of California.
“This is without a doubt a step in the right direction for not only immigrant rights, but for the entire State of California as well,” Juvenal said. This has been an issue that has been proposed time and time again through California’s legislative process and it is finally a great sight to see it finally come to law.”
The bill, proposed by Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a drivers license with a social security number, tax ID number, or other identifier that is appropriate according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If an individual is unable to provide any of the above, they must sign an affidavit at the DMV.
While the bill is seen as a step in the right direction by many immigration right advocates, it has also spurred controversy because of the special marking visible in the front, “DP” which means drivers privilege as opposed to a license that belongs to a legal resident that says “DL,” drivers license.
Pedro Ramirez, an immigration advocate who has been discriminated against for being undocumented in the past, was present when the bill was signed and said it was a special day for California.
“Today is a great day for California. I am excited to have witnessed such a historic moment,” Ramirez said.
The licenses under AB 60 are to be strictly used for driving purposes, and cannot be used for employment or immigration purposes, but is said to be promoting safety amongst drivers.
Sevag Sarkissian, media relations specialist for State Farm Insurance, said the bill will help control automotive costs for all drivers and that it will help ensure safety on the roads.
“It is in the best interest of all motorists, that individuals who the state determines are eligible to drive are trained, tested and insured, creating safer roads as a result,” Sevag said.
The new licenses will be begin to be issued Jan 1, 2015.
“This law will make sure that undocumented drivers in California no longer have to be fearful of driving on the road and will also create a safer driving environment for all drivers in California,” Juvenal said.