Bill would give driver's license to 'Deferred Action' immigrants

3:50 PM, Aug 22, 2012   |    comments
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WNTERS, CA - Because he's undocumented, Jose Torres-Lopez cannot get a California driver's license.

So he bikes 14 miles each way to the nearest community college for classes.

"It's a little bit tiresome," Torres-Lopez said. "Sometimes, you get to school and you're a little bit tired, so you don't really pay attention to teachers."

The DMV, though, could change Jose's life and others in the state like him.

The agency is looking at giving driver's licenses to roughly 400,000 young undocumented immigrants who've applied and are approved under President Obama's deferred action program where they can stay and work in the U.S. for two years without fear of deportation.

The question is whether that's an acceptable government document to grant the privilege of driving.

Assem. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, is rushing through a bill which tells the DMV that deferred action immigrants do qualify for driver's licenses. He said it'll make our roads safer if more people are tested.

"We're told these young people that they can study and get scholarships. The President's told them they can work. The State Department has told them they can travel abroad. We should allow them to drive," Cedillo said.

Opponents said it's unfair to other immigrants.

"I'm getting phone calls from people who are trying to get here and get their citizenship legally," Assm. Dan Logue, R-Chico, said. "And they're saying what about us? Why are people being moved to the front of the line and getting benefits we're trying to get?"

Torres-Lopez, who hopes to transfer to UC Davis soon, would love to not have to worry about how to get to school.

"Yes, it would be amazing," Torres-Lopez said. "It would just be helpful and beyond anything else that's happening, it would be a relief."

By Nannette Miranda


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