California Will Give Driver Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

September 14, 2013 09:43 AM

Governor Brown says he will sign the new bill.

Michael B. Marois

California, home to more undocumented immigrants than any other state, will allow those people to obtain a driver license under legislation lawmakers sent to Governor Jerry Brown.

Democrats, who control both chambers of the legislature, approved a bill late yesterday that requires the licenses to include a federally mandated stamp indicating the holder isn’t allowed to use it to vote or collect public benefits.

Immigrant rights groups opposed the stamp, saying it would stigmatize the holder. California will join at least seven other states, including New Mexico, Illinois and Washington, that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver license. Brown, also a Democrat, said he would sign the bill.

"This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally," Brown, a 75-year-old Democrat, said in a statement. "Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."

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