California News

DMV may issue licenses to young immigrants

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Because he's undocumented, Jose Torres-Lopez cannot get a California driver's license. So he bikes 14 miles each way to the nearest community college for classes.

"It's a little bit tiresome," the student said. "Sometimes, you get to school and you're a little bit tired, so you don't really pay attention to teachers."

The DMV, though, could change that for Torres-Lopez and others in the state like him. The agency is looking at giving driver's licenses to roughly 400,000 young undocumented immigrants who've applied and are approved under President Barack Obama's deferred action program, where they can stay and work in the U.S. for two years without fear of deportation.

The question is whether that's an acceptable government document to grant the privilege of driving.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo is rushing through a bill that tells DMV deferred action immigrants do qualify for driver's licenses. The Los Angeles Democrat says it will make roads safer if more people are tested.

"We're told these young people that they can study and get scholarships," Cedillo said. "The president has told them they can work. The State Department has told them they can travel abroad. We should allow them to drive."

Not everyone agrees.

"I'm getting phone calls from people who are trying to get here and get their citizenship legally, and they're saying, 'What about us? Why are people being moved to the front of the line and getting benefits we're trying to get?'" said Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Chico).

Torres-Lopez, who hopes to transfer to the University of California at Davis soon, said he would love to not have to worry about how to get to school.

"It would be amazing," he said. "It would just be helpful, and beyond anything else that's happening, it would be a relief."

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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immigration, california news, nannette miranda
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