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(Sacramento)— Assembly Bill 60, the Safe and Responsible Driver Act, will be amended to include recognizable features on the front and the back of these new licenses only to the extent necessary to satisfy federal law.  The amendments also provide protection against discrimination based upon the issuance of this new type of license.  AB 60 grants the opportunity for any immigrant to apply for a driver’s license in California.

Within the last year, eight states have passed legislation to give the right to drive legally to all immigrants.  All eight of these states implemented laws that have driver licenses with recognizable features on the front of the license in order to comply with federal law.  For example, Utah has a Temporary Visitor’s Driver License title on front of the license, Illinois has a Driving Privilege Card title on front of the license, and Colorado has “not for federal use” on front of the license.  These recognizable features were required to expressly comply with federal law, which California must also do.

“With AB 60 we are recognizing the needs of many hard-working immigrants living here and contributing so much to our great state,” states Alejo.

Immigrants are vital to our economy. They start businesses and create jobs.  According to the Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business in the United States. 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States are immigrants, and, small businesses owned by immigrants employed an estimated 4.7 million people in 2007, and according to the latest estimates, these small businesses generated more than $776 billion annually.

“Immigrants who drive legally are more likely to work, spend and contribute to the economy. And those with driver's licenses will have more job opportunities available to them, which will boost businesses in the state,” continues Alejo.

“I fought for the right of immigrants to obtain a driver's license in California for a decade,” says Los Angeles City Councilmember and former Senator Gil Cedillo. “Last year, I carried the bill that won those granted deferred action the right to apply for a California driver’s license. This year, we have the opportunity to extend that right for all undocumented residents of California. I applaud and thank Assemblymember Alejo for continuing these efforts with his bill AB 60, The Safe and Responsible Driver Act. The reality is that continuing the towing of cars and the penalties for immigrants without driver’s licenses will not stop people from driving. Immigrant drivers without licenses will be driving anyway because of the necessity to provide for their families. We have in our hands the opportunity to stand behind a piece of legislation that will make our roads safer, will provide national security and will allow immigrants to step out of the shadows and fully contribute to our communities and state economy.”

The current driver license eligibility requirement of verifying residency status was enacted in 1994 with the intent of preventing undocumented immigrants from being licensed. As a result, there are potentially one million drivers in the state of California who are on the roads with no proper training, licensing, or car insurance. Prior to 1994, immigrants had the right to apply for a driver’s license.

“We have been fighting to give all immigrants the right to drive legally on the roads for over a decade.  It’s time that the struggle and hard fight of former Senator Gil Cedillo comes to fruition.  It’s time for California to move forward,” says Alejo.

“This issue extends beyond a simple driver’s license; this issue is about public safety and community integration,” states Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. “A driver’s license will ensure that hardworking individuals are properly trained, have insurance, and can drive to work without fear of getting pulled over and losing their vehicle and their livelihood. I urge Governor Brown to sign this bill and end this longstanding struggle for thousands of individuals and families in California.”

Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) comments, “AB 60 is important to the state of California because we need those living here and sharing our roads to be educated and insured. There are both social and financial reasons to provide licenses to immigrants who are part of our communities. Not only is it the right thing to do, but our economy will benefit.”
"The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California has supported past efforts to provide licenses for undocumented immigrants for the last 14 years.  This is more than just a DMV issue, this is a public health issue.  We call on the Governor to sign AB 60, which will ensure mobility to immigrants and their families, including during crucial times when they must access health care," states Xavier Morales, Ph.D. of Latino Coalition for Healthy California.   
“The California Police Chiefs Association is pleased to support Assembly Bill 60, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo” said Kim Raney, President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “This legislation will assure that all persons who drive in California are licensed, have insurance, and are subject to enforcement of California’s driving laws.  Assembly Bill 60 also provides for needed identification security which will enable those charged with limiting access to secure locations to make the appropriate inquiry of anyone presenting a driver’s license to obtain such access.”

“I am a fourth generation farmer and grape grower in California, and my workers are very important to me,” states Bill Stokes of Stokes Brothers Farms in Lodi.  “Many of my workers are immigrants to this country, as are many workers in the state, and I have personally dealt with issues of my workers being pulled over and harassed because they did not have a driver’s license.  This bill will give these workers the legal right to drive on our roads and highways, and prevent the harassment of many of our state’s hardest workers.”

AB 60 will be in print as amended on September 9th and will be eligible for a vote in the California State Senate Floor on September 10th.

Attached is further information on the details of the amendments.

Luis Alejo represents the 30th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, San Benito County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.

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