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article imageCalifornia driver's licenses made available to illegal immigrants

By Nathan Salant     Jan 2, 2015 in Technology
Sacramento - Today marks the first day California can issue driver’s licenses to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the largest U.S. state.
Officials expect most of the state's 1.4 million illegal aliens to apply for licenses within three years under the new program, which is aimed at making life easier for the undocumented while keeping roadways safer for everybody.
The new licenses will be for California purposes only and not for federal identification, but will require drivers to pass written and driving tests and encourage them to purchase automobile insurance, according to the Associated Press.
California thus becomes the 10th U.S. state to allow undocumented residents to obtain licenses, restoring rules that had allowed the practice until the 1990s.
But the undocumented immigrant license will differ from licenses issued to U.S. citizens by containing the phrase, “federal limits apply,” the AP said.
Any prospective driver can apply for driver’s licenses at any California Department of Motor Vehicles office by scheduling an appointment or by signing up at one of four special license centers being set up around the state.
The new centers are in Los Angeles at 16201 San Fernando Mission Blvd., in Lompoc at 1601 North H St., in San Jose at 2222 Senter Road and in Stanton at 12645 Beach Blvd.
Officials say they can’t predict how many people will be trying to obtain licenses in the first few months or how crowded the new centers will be.
Immigrant advocates have long advocated making licenses available to the undocumented residents to encourage better driving and increase the number of insured drivers.
A DMV study of 23 years of crash data found that unlicensed drivers were more likely to cause fatal accidents than were licensed drivers, the agency said.
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