AB 2189 must become law

Licenses for Dreamers are a step toward integration

The 11th-hour race in the California Legislature includes a very important state bill to be able to issue driver’s licenses to beneficiaries of deferred action. AB 2189 must pass the Legislature and be signed by the governor.

This bill is needed to speed up the process in the Department of Motor Vehicles, which said it appears that the beneficiaries of this immigration change would be eligible for licenses. However, it postponed its decision until there is official verification that federal documents meet California’s licensing requirements.

The bill introduced by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo fulfills this purpose. It would basically establish that any federal document that demonstrates that someone was granted deferred action-because he or she was brought to the U.S. as a minor-will be enough as proof of legal presence in California to apply for a driver’s license.

The measure, which was approved by the Assembly yesterday and should pass to the state Senate today or tomorrow, reached this point thanks to legislative maneuvers that allowed it to advance quickly.

We have always maintained that giving undocumented immigrants access to a state ID as well as a driver’s license has economic value and is important for security.

In the case of the Dreamers, so called because of similarities between the DREAM Act and deferred action, it makes sense to allow them to drive.

This is a step in the integration process of a group of people, many as American as those born here. It is a crass mistake to judge them by the same standards as the rest of people without papers, as has been the case in Arizona and Texas.

California benefits when a sector of the population that is young and enterprising is brought out of the shadows. Driver’s licenses are part of it.