CALIFORNIA—According to a report released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, illegal immigrants have been the recipients of more than half of all new drivers licenses issued by the state.
The DMV issued a total of 759,000 new licenses from January through June 2015, with 397,000 licenses being issued to people who live in the country illegally. The AB 60 Driver License law, which passed in January 2015, made this possible.
According to Assembly Bill 60, the DMV “is required to issue an original driver license to an applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States,” if those applicants are able to provide proof of identity and California residency as well as meet all other requirements. The remainder of the requirements include many of the same guidelines that legal residents must fulfill in order to receive a license. As with legal residents, illegal immigrants must apply for an application, pass a Driver’s Education course (if under 18 years of age), provide a thumbprint, and pass all examinations, whether visual, written, or behind-the-wheel.
AB 60 has sparked widespread controversy. Supporters of the law believe that the roads will be safer now that California is providing licenses to all of its residents, regardless of their immigration status. Supporters also argue that this will be a huge step for families in terms of having identification and greater mobility.
Opponents of the law, on the other hand, believe that illegal immigrants are being rewarded for being in the country illegally.
There have been debates about whether there should be limitations on how many licenses are issued to illegal immigrants. There currently are no limitations as to the number of licenses issued.
The only restriction on the license is that it is not recognized to be a form of federal identification.