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

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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.

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.

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