California legislators have approved a measure that will grant special driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. The measure that passed on Thursday night now needs the signature of Governor Jerry Brown, he is expected to sign the bill. The Governor who is an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform hopes that what California is doing sends a message to “Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”
The driver’s licenses will be specially marked to denote they cannot be used as identification to fly, to register to vote or to collect public aid. Many immigrant advocacy groups were opposed to the “Scarlet Letter” on the driver’s licenses. The licenses will have “DP” displayed in front versus “DL” that other driver’s who are documented have.
The legislation in some form or another has been around for early ten years. The political climate was right this time. Assembly Bill 60 passed the California Assembly 55-19 and the Senate 28-8.
Last month California reached a demographic milestone when the number of Latinos matched the number of white non-Hispanics. Nearly 3 million residents in California are undocumented.
California joins New Mexico, Washington, New Jersey, and Illinois as states that grant driving privileges to the undocumented.