Governor Brown OKs driver's licenses for immigrants here illegally

October 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
On the Fresno City College campus to sign the driver's license bill into law, California Governor Jerry Brown made it clear, he not only wants California's undocumented immigrants to drive legally. But he wants Congress to pass immigration reform.

"Not only now can people who are not documented get to work legally, get to school, take care of their families, but the very fact that a million people who are undocumented are now recognized by the law of California," said Brown. "That sends a message, to congress. And that message is not about driving a car. It's about getting a path to citizenship through comprehensive immigration reform. That's the goal."

The measure won the endorsement of major law enforcement groups and especially agriculture, which depends on undocumented workers.

The new law will affect many students on the Fresno City College campus, and their families. Many live in fear of being pulled over, fined and having their vehicles impounded.

Student Osleyn Rojas told Action News, "My family members they don't have one (drivers licenses) and they simply can't go in and out using the car they have to have that license."

Freshman Miguel Vivenco is undocumented, along with most of his family. "My mom my brothers my cousins a large number of us are undocumented. This is a great opportunity for us."

For those undocumented who might be afraid to apply for a license, the author of the bill, Assembly Member Luis Alejo of Salina told Action News, there are protections.

Alejo explained, "It's specified that any records held by DMV are only held by them and cannot be shared with any outside agency."

Brown says granting drivers licenses will provide a sense of belonging and freedom to those who work and raise their families in California.

"We are here on a very important moment. Because we are recognizing millions of people who have been in the shadows," explained Brown.

The law allowing the undocumented to get drivers licenses will not take effect until January of 2015. Those who apply will have to pass a test, and get insurance.


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