California Governor signs bill allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s license

Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill which will allow those immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to obtain a driver’s license in California. Ranchod Law, with offices in Sacramento, Santa Clara and San Francisco, is elated and supportive of this important change in the law.

Here are some of the top questions you may have about the new law:

When and how can I get my license?

California will begin issuing licenses to illegal immigrants no later than January 2015, but it could be sooner! The procedure for obtaining a license has yet to be announced but please check back for updates as the information becomes available. We do know, however, that all applicants will have to pass the written and driving test in order to qualify for their licenses.

Can I use the driver’s license in order to work?

Unfortunately, no, the driver’s license is exclusively for driving privileges and will not authorize you to work legally in the U.S. The driver’s license will carry a special designation on the front and a notice stating that the license cannot be used to prove eligibility for employment. Also the license is not an official form of federal identification and cannot be used to obtain public benefits (Medicaid, food stamps, etc.) and cannot be used board a plane.

Can I otherwise use the driver’s license as a form of ID?

See above response. Also, it isn’t clear whether local government offices, libraries, or banks will accept the license as identification.

Will having this driver’s license prevent me from being detained by immigration and deported?

Will having this driver’s license cause me to be picked up by immigration for being illegal?

Immigrants caught driving without a license can be arrested. Upon arrest, illegal immigrants are usually uncovered and transferred to the immigration authorities who can process the immigrants for deportation. By having a driver’s license, illegal immigrants cannot be arrested for driving without a license and this will prevent many individuals from being deported. Also the driver’s license bans discrimination and the law provides that the license cannot be used as a basis for arresting someone for being in the U.S. illegally

Ranchod Law Group is glad that California has joined the numerous other states (Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Maryland, Illinois, Washington, New Mexico, and Utah) which are providing licenses to illegal immigrants. This change in the law benefits not only the illegal immigrants but also society at large. This is a developing story and we will update this blog in coming months as further details emerge.

Call us at 916-613-3553 with your questions or email us your questions which we will answer on this blog, and use this form to request a consultation now!