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State lawmakers, DMV seek to allay fears over driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Immigrant advocates filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Wednesday alleging that immigration agents are filing paperwork to keep arrestees in custody longer without investigating whether they're in the country illegally. (Photo: A May Day protester at a Los Angeles immigration rally wears a "Path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants" t-shirt, May 1, 2013.)

Starting next year, undocumented immigrants in California will be eligible for driver's licenses.

When we talked with the new law's author State Representative Luis Alejo, he said it was long overdue.

"It's certainly going to be a benefit when people know the rules of the road and they're tested in their license. That makes the roads and highways more safer for everyone," said Alejo.

But this plan has hit a speed bump. Some undocumented immigrants say they don't trust the licenses. They believe the info they hand over to authorities could be used to deport them.

New York Times reporter Ian Lovett recently attended a public forum in Bell, where residents expressed their concerns. He joins the show with more. 


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