Driver’s license bill races through Legislature

April 23, 2013

By Katy Grimes


SACRAMENTO — Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants is back on the table and making its way through the Capitol once again. But this latest bill asserts a licensed driver is a safer driver, based on a new California Department of Motor Vehicles study.

The study, “Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers,” found that, compared to licensed drivers, suspended or revoked and unlicensed drivers are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash.

Supporters of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants have jumped on this report as evidence of the need.

The California Safe and Responsible Driver Act, Assembly Bill 60, would authorize issuance of a California driver’s license to all illegal immigrants residing in the state, as long as they can show proof identification.

AB 60, in the Assembly Transportation Committee Monday, by Salinas Democrat Luis Alejo, is one of the many attempts over the past decade to authorize illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses. AB 60 follows a newly passed law from 2012, AB 2189, which granted California driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants who came to California as children.

But not just anyone can walk into the DMV and obtain a California driver’s license. AB 60 would only authorize DMV-issued driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants as long as applicants provide several forms of documentation to establish proof of identity, including:

* A valid consular identification

* Original birth certificate

* A residential utility bill or lease agreement, OR

* Other proof of Califiornia residence; AND

* Marriage certificate

* Foreign ID card

* Official school or college transcript

* Property deed or title document

* Property tax bill

* Income tax return, OR

* “Other proof of California residence as designated by the DMV.”

A licensed driver is a safer driver

Alejo said AB 60 would reduce fatal crashes and improve public safety. “Drivers able to get licenses and eventually insurance lead to safer roads,” Alejo said. “We’re the state with the largest immigrant population. Many of those are undocumented in critical industries that couldn’t go without the work they do. Whether it be the agricultural industry, the restaurants, the hotels, they are already here. They are already working. It would allow them to learn the laws, traffic laws, allow them to get insurance while driving on the road, and it would make our roads much safer.”

But opponents say handing out driver’s licenses opens a can of worms in state and national security, and should be left to the federal government.

Dan Rosenberg, a citizen and the only opponent to speak at the hearing Monday, said AB 60 may have lots of support, but no one has provided evidence whatsoever to support the safer roads claim.

Rosenberg told the story of his son being killed by an unlicensed, illegal immigrant in San Francisco. “The District Attorney screwed up every aspect of the case,” Rosenberg said.  His son’s death led him to research the statistics on unlicensed drivers and immigrants, and road safety. “This is not a debate about immigration, but about public safety. Licensing them would not make crashes fewer, or hit and runs less. There are bad drivers with licenses and bad without.”

Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, interrupted Rosenberg several times, admonishing him to address the merits of the bill.

“It sounds like you don’t want to hear the evidence,” Rosenberg replied.

Rosenberg offered research from New Mexico, which found traffic fatalities rose after passing legislation to authorize illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

 Licensing history

All immigrants, legal or not, could get driver’s licenses in California until 1993, when legislation required all applicants to present a valid Social Security number to obtain one.

AB 60 is similar to bills authored by former Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, to give illegal immigrants the legal right to drive in California. Cedillo tried unsuccessfully seven or eight times to get his bill passed, but not without a fight. Cedillo’s bill was passed by the Legislature three times, but vetoed twice by then-Gov. Gray Davis.

Davis finally signed one of Cedillo’s bills in 2003, and it became an issue during his historic recall election. Davis was hammered on the issue by candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was elected to replace Davis. The Legislature then signed a repeal of the bill, and Schwarzenegger signed it into law.

Emotional or practical issue?

The hearing for AB 60 was long and full of emotion as many Latinos showed up from all over the state to testify in support of AB 60.

Lowenthal, the committee chairwoman, asked supporters to only provide their names, affiliations, and state if they support the bill. But there were many stories and short speeches given, some of which included an interpreter.

Supportive of a pathway to citizenship, PICO California, the largest community-organizing network in the state, had a large presence at the hearing, clearly having organized many of the supporters present.

But several legislators say this is an issue for the federal government, and not individual states.

In a statement, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, opposed the bill. “The Democrats can pass AB 60 on their own because they have overwhelming control of both houses of the state Legislature,” she said, according to a KGET report. “But, I don’t think the 50 individual states should be writing piecemeal immigration laws — this is something Congress needs to handle at the federal level. And, while there are some practical reasons that it makes sense to test and license any driver on our roads, how does a state government provide a document to drive legally, if the person came here illegally?”

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, has been critical of piecemeal legislation, including AB 60, the Sacramento Bee reported. “The unintended consequences of these bills is to separate my constituents into categories and classes, promote cultural divide, and create legal tension between state and federal laws.”

The bill easily passed the Transportation Committee, 12-1.


Write a comment
  1. Jim
    Jim 23 April, 2013, 09:35

    If you nut jobs in Sacramento are going to do this, at lest have Illegal Immigrant typed on the license.

    Reply this comment
  2. Left of Rio Linda
    Left of Rio Linda 23 April, 2013, 09:52

    But this latest bill asserts a licensed driver is a safer driver, based on a new California Department of Motor Vehicles study. Goes to show you that a hunter with a hunting license is a safer hunter (says a guy that was almost shot in Modoc county).

    * Original birth certificate (Obama couldn’t obtain a Driver’s License in California)

    Reply this comment
    • Cactus Jack
      Cactus Jack 7 August, 2015, 15:57

      Incorrect, Obama has a US birth certificate and has been shown/proven many times. That being said I do not support AB60, I think it is saying “Hey it’s perfectly OK to be here illegally”. Wrong message to send and will attract even more illegals.

      Reply this comment
  3. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 23 April, 2013, 09:59

    I wonder how many interpreter-aided “short speeches” Lowenthal interrupted?

    Reply this comment
  4. dhg2
    dhg2 23 April, 2013, 10:55

    I don’t understand the bill. All the so called ID they’re asking for can be forged and the DMV workers do not have time nor do they have any incentive to do any background checks on any of the required ID’s. So, what’s the point of the bill, just to give illegals a license to drive and cause accidents and kill people rather than getting them out of driving cars?

    Reply this comment
  5. double l
    double l 23 April, 2013, 11:57

    It’s all about buying votes.

    Reply this comment
  6. Lou Sylvestri
    Lou Sylvestri 23 April, 2013, 12:14

    I think the state should also supply auto insurance to the illegal’s.

    Lord knows we are gonna need it. You think the insurance companies are going to sell insurance to illegals????? I wonder if the state will mandate they do.

    Reply this comment
    • Richard
      Richard 28 July, 2014, 10:53

      Of course insurance companies will provide insurance. It’s a huge, untapped market with a high probability of the insured fleeing the scene in order to avoid law enforcement. Just collect money with minimal payout? Yea, they’ll provide.

      Reply this comment
  7. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 23 April, 2013, 12:41

    The “hot” Attorney Kamala Harris is an accessory to murder in the death of Mr. rosenber’s son, though the sanctuary city garbage. Lownthal and Cedillo are complete , useless festering sacks of%&(T>. Disgusting.

    Reply this comment
  8. us citizen
    us citizen 23 April, 2013, 13:36

    Oh how do I say this……..oh yeah……BULL SHIT! And so are you going to teach them English also, so they can read the freaking signs!!! This is a load of cow poop is I ever saw one. Why dont you just pay us for our land and house, and give it to the damned illegals and let us get out of here. This state makes me SICK.

    Reply this comment
  9. doug
    doug 23 April, 2013, 17:29

    give them a state-issued car with a built in breathalizer. paint it bright pink.
    then they can go to the market with the new CalFresh tickets and talk on the free cell phones while driving. then to the free mediCal doctor for free pregnancy ultrasound.

    Reply this comment
  10. ECK
    ECK 23 April, 2013, 20:09

    Jeez, what drivel. The planted axiom here is that “illegals will drive safer if they have licenses”. Anyone see something wrong with that? The logic is bogus. These quoted findings (if true) only show the worst drivers have revoked or suspended licenses or probably couldn’t get one.

    Reply this comment
  11. BobA
    BobA 24 April, 2013, 08:26

    The next step for all these new undocumented democrats is to get automatic government subsidized housing. As someone has already said, why not throw in a car, a big screen TV, cable, a cellphone, a computer and 20 bucks worth of lottery tickets to complete their “relocation” package?

    After all, we do want to make them as comfortable as possible so when they start voting and collecting new benefits and entitlements, they’ll be thankful that the American dream was made possible for them courtesy of the democrat party and the shattered dreams of the American tax payers.

    Reply this comment
  12. Martin
    Martin 24 April, 2013, 09:15

    i m happy for the license to im
    migrants. They are very good workers, diferent to the ignorants red necks. Republicans crying a lot hahaha

    Reply this comment
  13. bubba
    bubba 24 April, 2013, 20:04

    Well if a “Licensed” Driver is a safe driver, how come I got “T” boned by a “licensed” driver who ran a red light?

    Answer that one “One Bill Gill”?

    Reply this comment
  14. Queeg
    Queeg 25 April, 2013, 00:28

    Martin got problems with rednecks and Republicans……clinging to their guns and religion……hmmmmm?

    Reply this comment
  15. BobA
    BobA 25 April, 2013, 09:33


    Martin is part of the hate America crowd. He’s either a radical communist or an Islamic Jihadist sympathizer.

    Reply this comment
  16. wolf
    wolf 10 May, 2013, 22:16

    There are pros and cons from different angle but for the Law makers who want to provide Drivers License to Illegal Immigrants, I totally agree to the fact that it makes the road safer. I believe that if Dan Rosenbergs son was hit by an illegal Immigrant who was provided with a drivers license thus being able to get Insurance coverage, then Rosenbeeg could probably have benifited at least on the coverage. On another angle, if that particular driver was licensed, he would probably had been more calm and responsible in driving rather than panicky because he had no drivers license which may have cause him to hit his son. There’s tons of reasons behind it. But he could have also been just hit by a crazy legal american drug addict and the issue would have been different. right?

    Reply this comment
  17. Derick
    Derick 16 May, 2013, 00:24

    Legalizing an illegal substance like Marijuana went smoothly when there are a lot of consequences (worse ones) associated in the use of it. The stereo type on this issue is, why are we painting an image and generalizing that all illegal immigrants are unsafe drivers? I’ve seen a lot of crazy drivers who are citizens. Status of oneperson should not be a basis on who should and shouldn’t be allowed to drive but the capacity of the individual to drive safely should be. Let us not forget that most of what we call illegal immigrants are also tax payers. The government loses a huge amount of money to the so called citizens who sits all day in their couch waiting for government freebies like ebt cards. Why work when you can just wait for free money? While the illegals we mock are the ones doing the dirty jobs the citizens don’t even dare to do.

    Reply this comment
  18. Undocumented
    Undocumented 16 May, 2013, 12:20

    Damn, you all want to give us, Undocumented (wait let me save you some extra typing by including Illegal; because we all know that all you do is sit on your computer and complain about any if not all articles that are posted online instead of going out there and making the horrible change you want to make) free everything? I’ll take it! Give me all those free benefits you are offering. you all are a joke.

    Reply this comment
  19. Steven
    Steven 18 May, 2013, 22:29

    All the comments above that are against this have no valid argument for it not to be allowed.

    Simply put, giving those here undocumented the option to get a valid drivers license DOES make the roads safer. It’s proven in the study. I happen to know a very close undocumented person that drives without a license because he needs to get to school and work. Yes, he goes to school.. and is in fact going for his MBA and paying for it all by himself.

    He gets no benefits, collects nothing from the government, yet still pays taxes and can’t receive anything in return. So get off your high box of saying that all the undocumented in this country leech off the system… when in fact they are contributing to it.

    Reply this comment
  20. Public Safety
    Public Safety 30 May, 2013, 21:33

    I APPLAUD YOU CALIFORNIA!!! I am happy to hear this state has come to its senses. For years, I’ve seen immigrants suffer because they are unlicensed. I’ve seen them get cited, get their cars towed for 30 days, and in cases even get arrested and deported. Now, I have also seen the state justice system suffer. Because illegal immigrants have no government issued ID, it is very hard to track them down. In many cases, people have committed crimes and flee. One can have a name and a date of birth, but no other information to try and track illegal criminals down. If given a license, immigrants will be more likely to provide accurate information. The state will have a face to a name, a thumb print, and if they so decide, full prints can be obtained. Immigrants will value having a license and will protect it by getting insurance and will likely feel safer in abiding by laws and remaining on scene at the time of an accident as they will not fear being arrested or fear their cars will get towed for being unlicensed.

    Thank you California. MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

    Reply this comment
    • Cactus Jack
      Cactus Jack 7 August, 2015, 16:04

      There is one big problem with your statement, you are calling them IMMIGRANTS. We are talking about illegals, not immigrants. There is a big difference. I do not want people in our country illegally, let alone given a drivers license as a reward for entering our country illegally.

      Reply this comment
  21. Cali
    Cali 15 September, 2013, 02:59

    you hate illegals for hit and run, but you don’t want them to get a driver license and follow the rules, you hate illegals for not being educated but you don’t want them to go to public schools.
    your comments are just proofs of how racist you really are.

    Reply this comment
  22. Jill
    Jill 9 June, 2014, 20:11

    Am I missing something here? Of is “illegal” not “illegal” anymore? When did that happen? Oh yeah, only if you are Mexican, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not racist, but if I break the law, I’m going to jail. If the Mexicans break the law, our Department of Motor Vehicles spends our taxpayer dollars building special centers to issue them driver’s licenses. Either change the immigration laws, or enforce them already. It doesn’t do any good to have laws that don’t mean anything.

    Reply this comment
    *ANONYMOUS* 7 November, 2014, 17:42

    Hello, here’s a small rectangular piece of plastic. Now you’re a “safe” “driver” have a nice day.

    Reply this comment
  24. Common sense
    Common sense 17 November, 2014, 11:36

    MEXICANS?! I know you did not just classify illegal immigrants all as one ethnic group. I was at the immigration office a few weeks ago giving a friend a ride and I saw every ethnicity I could think of. Yes even white people who came here illegally from Europe. So don’t dare classify them all as MEXICAN.
    You damn people are so easily to judge, you were born American, you obviously don’t even know what a struggle is. Get off your high horse because if you were in their shoes, YOU WOULD OF DONE THE SAME THING.
    Besides that point, granting them licenses doesn’t affect you whatsoever, because guess what, many of them are already driving in US roads anyway. You don’t need a drivers license to get a CAR.

    Reply this comment
  25. Rebecca
    Rebecca 13 January, 2015, 16:38

    Just prepare for gangsters, thugs, drugs, killers, violence and Aids.

    Reply this comment
    • Tolerant
      Tolerant 14 January, 2015, 17:06

      This is seriously the most dumbest comment of them all. This doesn’t even relate to illegal immigrants getting licenses. Gangsters? LEGAL AMERICANS CAN ALSO BE GANGSTERS. Thugs? I didn’t know that by being illegal to a country not just this one you were instantly classified as a thug. Drugs? Oh that’s right I totally missed that new study that just because you’re legal to a country you are instantly immune from being doing drugs, selling drugs, or being associated to drugs. Wake up DRUGS ARE A PROBLEM REGARDLESS! Legal or illegal for that matter. Killers? Do you recall the Sandy Hook shootings by Adam Lanza a LEGAL AMERICAN or when James Eagan Holmes started the Aurora shootings? I believe in that case two of the most disgusting and cruel killers were both legal to this country. Violence? Violence is everywhere all the time and can not be classified under anything. Hispanic, Black, White, Asian, Latino, Gay, Straight, Girls, Guys, Legal, Illegal all of these ‘groups’ have violence. It’s common sense nobody is perfect and not violent. AIDS? I’ll have you know studies show that ‘White People’ which I assume is who you believe to be the legal ones in this situation, are the group with the most amount of people infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. Blacks & Hispanics, who i presume you believe are the illegals here, fall much behind them. IGNORANT PEOPLE SUCH AS YOURSELF NEED TO PICK UP A BOOK OR READ SOMETHING EDUCATIONAL BECAUSE IT IS OBVIOUS YOU HAVEN’T DONE IT IN A WHILE. At least next time make a comment regarding the topic and not just something false and very stupid you believe.


      Reply this comment

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