skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Calif. Bill Allowing Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants Comes With Cautions

Evening Edition

Aired 9/17/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Lorena Gonzalez, Democratic San Diego Assemblymember, District 80

Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director, Alliance San Diego


California legislators have approved a bill to allow people who are here illegally to get driver's licenses.

Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign it into law, but the bill has some unlikely opponents.

A number of immigrant rights groups are against the provision in the bill that makes driver's licenses look differently. They said that those differences are a red flag telling everyone the holder of the license is in the U.S. illegally.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director for Alliance San Diego, said licenses are needed for all drivers on the road, but using markings to distinsuigh people for purposes not related to driving is mean-spirited and divisive.

Nine states and the District of Columbia offer driver's licenses to immigrants who are in the country illegally. Guerrero said Washington state and New Mexico issue licenses for all drivers without the distinguishing markings.

Assebmlywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) voted for AB 60, which approved the marked driver's licenses for those who are living here illegally.

"With only broken immigration laws on the books, Californians are driving without licenses and without insurance. That isn't safe for anyone," Gonzalez said in an emailed statement.

"Passing AB 60 was important because we can't wait on the Republicans in Congress to help our neighbors and families [sic] members safely drive their kids to school or themselves to work, and we can't continue to block everyone else from the peace of mind that drivers on our roads and streets have passed the driving tests, know our traffic laws, and carry auto insurance," Gonzalez said.

Alliance San Diego's Guerrero said, "The public needs to understand is that this license doesn't protect you against immigration enforcement. It doesn't protect you from someone from calling Border Patrol."

She said, "The community should proceed with caution."

Guerrero said it's a personal decision for people to get a license, but she recommends if people do get one that they only use it for the purpose of driving or getting insurance ,and never for the purpose of identification.

She said the protections in the bill against employment and housing discrimination are meaningless if you've already been deported.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'American1776'

American1776 | September 17, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

The most rediculous thing ive ever heard!! We should be deporting them, not rewarding them with FKing driver licenses!!!! This state has gone to hell and so has the Country!! Good luck when one hits you without insurance!! F U Jerry Brown you POS!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | September 17, 2013 at 2:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

"...Californians are driving without licenses and without insurance." -Lorena Gonzalez

" their kids to school or themselves to work." -Lorena Gonzalez


First off, Gonzalez, illegal aliens are NOT Californians.

Second, it is illegal for them to work. Why would you want to help someone commit a crime? Well, we all know your nefarious and morally bankrupt reasons.

At least this will make it easier to identify and report illegal aliens.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | September 17, 2013 at 4:28 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago


Handing out these drivers licenses is ridiculous, but not more than the "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" immigration policy favoring illegal Cuban immigration. (Where's the outcry over that?) Until our immigration policy is just and even-handed for all, expect to see more of this patchwork nonsense.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | September 17, 2013 at 4:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Ease up there American1776. This makes me very angry too, but there is no need to cuss. Although, I understand the desire when we see such terrible bills emerging from Sacramento's sphincter.

Sadly, Gonzalez now sits in one of the most gerrymandered districts in all of California. Just look at the May 2013 special election:

Democratic Lorena Gonzalez 18,125 71.2%
Democratic Steve Castaneda 6,646 26.1%
Libertarian Kaiden Degas (write-in) 548 2.2%
Republican Lincoln Pickard (write-in) 140 0.5%

So I guess she feels comfortable insulting Californians and thumbing her nose at the effort of legal immigrants.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | September 17, 2013 at 4:44 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago


You're absolutely right. The Cuban wet foot/dry foot policy is just as morally bankrupt and needs to be ended. Immigration law should apply to everyone equally just like any other law.

( | suggest removal )