California undocumented immigrant youth may be eligible for driver’s licenses despite state ban

UCLA Dreamers

Roberto (Bear) Guerra

Erica Rey, originally of Argentina, has her cap adjusted by a friend. When she started at UCLA, she was undocumented, but has since become a citizen of the U.S.

Due to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action program, unlawful immigrants in California, between 16 and 30 years old, may soon be able to get state driver's licenses. More than 400,000 young illegal immigrants in California may be eligible.

California Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Mike Marando said the state may have to consider Deferred Action applicants as “temporary legal residents” in order to avoid the state’s license ban.

He said further state legislative or regulatory clarification may be needed to issue the licenses.

“The driver’s license law does not change, but the immigration status of the young people in the country will," Marando said.

California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, an advocate of stricter immigration enforcement, said the issue of licenses for undocumented youth will become a “huge debate” in the state over the next few months.

Only three states currently allow undocumented immigrants to have driver’s licenses: New Mexico, Washington state and Utah.

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