Local

California could grant special driver's licenses to US-Mexico border crossers

A member of the US Border Patrol walks behind the line of cars waiting to enter the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
A member of the US Border Patrol walks behind the line of cars waiting to enter the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
AFP/Getty Images

California drivers who make frequent trips to Mexico could get speedier border passage under a plan to offer special driver's licenses.

The U-T San Diego reports that a proposed state measure would allow Californians to have a background check and pay an extra $75 for an enhanced license. The enhanced driver’s license would replace the need to carry a passport, which is now required for re-entry to the U.S.

That license would permit them to use special existing "Ready Lanes" to cross into the U.S. from Mexico rather than wait in regular lanes, where a crossing can take an hour or more.

The licensing program was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which must approve its use by states.

U-T San Diego also reports that only people eligible for U.S. passports can apply.

Several states, including Washington, already offer the licenses to those traveling to Canada.