Illegal Immigrants Account for Over Half of California Driver’s Licenses Issued in 2015

A California Department of Motor Vehicles office
A California Department of Motor Vehicles office / AP
July 20, 2015

Fifty-two percent of all new driver’s licenses issued in the state of California thus far this year have been awarded to illegal immigrants.

According to the Associated Pressthe California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed Friday that approximately 397,000 licenses had been issued to illegal immigrants in the first six months of 2015 after a law went into effect allowing the DMV to issue licenses to undocumented immigrant workers in the state.

In total, 759,000 licenses were issued by the DMV in the first half 2015, a more than 174 percent increase over the 435,000 licenses handed out in the first six months of 2014.

Officials estimate that 1 million more illegals to whom the law applies will become applicants for licenses over the next three years.

Assembly Bill 60, which was passed in 2013 and went into effect in January, requires the DMV to "issue an original driver’s license to a person who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law."

California Gov. Jerry Brown held two ceremonies to celebrate his signing of the law in 2013 during which he described the state as a "dream."

In order to become an applicant for the licenses, illegal immigrants covered by the law must pass a driving test and prove their residency and identity. Since the law took effect, 687,000 individuals have applied for the licenses, which are marked differently than those given to U.S. citizens in the state so that individuals who use them cannot board airplanes or perform other tasks that require federal identification.

Between Jan. 2 and June 30, more than 1.1 million illegals covered by the law took written driver’s tests and 436,000 have also submitted to road driving tests.