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Feds reject design of Calif. driver's licenses for immigrants living illegally in the state

by AirTalk®

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California Governor Jerry Brown (C) signs bill AB60 October 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. California Assembly Bill 60 also known as the Safe and Responsible Driver Act allows illegal immigrants to receive a permit to legally drive in California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Last October, Governor Brown signed AB 60, allowing undocumented Californians to legally apply for driver’s licenses in the state by 2015. But the proposed design of these driver’s licenses has come under fire.

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, officials at the Department of Homeland Security told the California Department of Motor Vehicles that the design it has come up with isn’t distinguishable enough from regular driver’s licenses and violate requirements set forth under the REAL ID Act.

In CA DMV’s proposed design, the “DL” on the front of the driver’s licenses is replaced with a “DP,” which stands for “Driving Privilege.” They also carry a notice on the back stating that the card can’t be used as federal identification.

Some immigration rights groups worry that making the licenses stand out more could lead to their holders being treated differently.

"Covering the fronts of licenses with this information that Homeland Security is demanding would subject the holders to unnecessary discrimination and possible harassment," state Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) told the Los Angeles Times.

Should these driver’s licenses be redesigned to make them more distinguishable?


Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles); CHIRLA consulted on the new license design

Jon Feere, Legal Policy Analyst, Center for Immigration Studies, an independent, non-profit research organization based in D.C.


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