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California’s undocumented immigrant driver license bill heads to governor’s office

California Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled the newly-designed driver license, Oct. 5, 2010.
Should illegal immigrants be able to obtain a driver license?

For the ninth time in his career, Gil Cedillo has got his pet project to the governor’s desk.

For the ninth time in his career, Gil Cedillo has got his pet project to the governor’s desk. Since 1998, the Democratic member of the California State Assembly has been tirelessly working to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver licenses. While Governor Gray Davis signed one such bill into law, it was repealed when Arnold Schwarzenegger took office.

As a sign of compromise, Cedillo has reduced the scope of his bill to only grant such privileges to the same immigrants who fall under President Barack Obama’s deferred action program: illegal immigrants who were brought here before they were sixteen, don’t have criminal records, and are either in school or have certain education credentials.

While limiting the range of those who could gain driver licenses may be politically smart, is it going far enough? The main reason to get these people driver licenses is so they have to actually pass a driving test. A vast majority of them don’t know the formal rules for driving, and in some reports illegal immigrants are involved in fatal accidents at a rate five times that of documented drivers. Not to mention that if you don’t have a driver license, you definitely don’t have automobile insurance.

Does AB 2189 stand a chance of being signed into law? If so, is it selling itself short? What steps can be taken to ensure that the roads are made more secure, not just for undocumented immigrants, but for those who already have licenses?


Gil Cedillo, California State Assemblyman (D-45)

Tim Donnelly, California State Assemblyman (R- 59)

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