California Legislature Votes to Allow Driver’s Licenses for Qualified Undocumented Immigrants

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Young undocumented immigrants in California who are granted temporary legal status under the Deferred Action program recently implemented by the Obama Administration may soon have the opportunity to get driver’s licenses. California legislators passed the law (AB 2189) yesterday and Governor Brown is expected to sign it. California’s position on extending benefits to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is at odds with that of other states. Arizona and Nebraska, for example, recently passed laws restricting state services, including driver’s licenses, for young immigrants who are otherwise protected by the Deferred Action program.

The Deferred Action program, announced last June and recently implemented, allows some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children (below the age of 16), who have not committed a felony, who have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and who are between the ages of 15 and 30, permission to stay in the United States for a period of at least two years without fear of deportation. The program has sparked controversy and at least one lawsuit.

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