On August 30, the California Legislature approved a bill permitting deferred action recipients to apply for state driver’s licenses. The measure is expected to affect approximately 400,000 undocumented immigrants in California, the state with the highest number of such immigrants in the nation.
In addition to extending driving privileges, the bill will make the Employment Authorization Card (EAD) issued to eligible deferred action immigrants a valid document for establishing legal presence to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Obama administration’s federal directive to provide certain undocumented immigrants with a temporary reprieve from deportation under the deferred action program has spurred vociferous debate among states with vastly different approaches to addressing illegal immigration. As we reported earlier, Arizona and Nebraska have implemented measures to deny driver’s licenses and other state benefits to deferred action immigrants. Legal challenges from both sides of the aisle are expected to follow.