California is on the verge of allowing hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses for the first time in nearly two decades, reports the Sacramento Bee. The issue has raged in the Legislature for much of the past decade, without resolution, but fighting is largely moot now due to a new federal policy. President 0bama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gives a select group of undocumented immigrants the right to live and work in the United States for two years without fear of deportation.
California is laying the groundwork for extending the privilege to driving, too, for an estimated 400,000 immigrants. The Department of Motor Vehicles said Tuesday that young people who receive federal deferrals will be eligible for California driver’s licenses. “But it remains uncertain whether clarifying legislation or regulations will be necessary,” the DMV statement said. The glitch is that state regulations allow only certain types of federal immigration documents to support the issuance of a driver’s license.