SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. may not be allowed to do some things documented immigrants can, but driving legally in California isn’t one of them.
In fact, over the last three years, more than 1 million undocumented immigrants have received California driver’s licenses.
The California Department of Vehicles says it’s issued licenses to more than one million undocumented drivers since AB 60 went into effect in January 2015.
AB 60, also known as The Safe and Responsible Driver Act went into effect January 1, 2015, and allows anyone to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status.
In 2015 alone, around 605,000 undocumented immigrants received licenses — an average of about 50,000 per month. That average has now dropped to about 10,000 per month.
Those who want a license still must prove their identity and that they live in California. They also have to pass a vision and knowledge test, give a thumbprint and have their picture taken.
An AB 60 license looks different than a standard license. It cannot be used as a federal ID, nor can it be used for employment, voting or public benefits, and drivers must renew the license every five years.
When AB 60 passed in 2013, the DMV estimated up to 2 million undocumented immigrants, or 1 in 8 California drivers, drove illegally. Opponents argued driving is a privilege and giving undocumented immigrants licenses rewarded those who broke the law.