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City Council Endorses Enhanced Driver’s Licenses

Aired 6/25/13 on KPBS News.

City Council gave unanimous support to a bill in the statehouse that aims to make it easier to cross California's southern border.

If you live in San Diego, it's a pretty good bet you have at least once sat in a line of traffic headed for the U.S.-Mexico border, where vehicles can often snake for miles.

Joseph Misenhelter, an assistant port director at the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, stands in front of new double-stacked processing booths being installed to increase security and decrease border wait times -- eventually to 30 minutes, he hopes.

A new bill with bi-partisan support in the state Senate and is currently awaiting approval in the state Assembly, aims to streamline that crossing.

Former San Diego City Council President and current State Senator Ben Hueso is championing a bill that calls for enhanced driver's licenses. If you are a U.S. citizen, that information would be embedded on your driver’s license, allowing you to leave your passport behind in your sock drawer.

Current San Diego Council President Todd Gloria called it a no-brainer.

"For anyone who crosses with any frequency, they know that the long border wait times are having significant effects on our economy by the trade that is limited, the time that is wasted waiting in line, the smog that is created from the idling," Gloria said.

Gloria said there are a multitude of reasons to streamline the border crossing by making it more efficient without sacrificing security. He said the entire City Council agreed the bill will be a boon to San Diegans.

The American Civil Liberties Union has spoken out against enhanced licenses. They warn that collecting all that personal information in one place would open the door for identity fraud.

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