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Undocumented Immigrants and Driver's Licenses

            Effective since 2015, California Assembly Bill 60, titled the Safe and Responsible Driver Act, gives an opportunity to apply for a driver's license to California residents, regardless of their immigration status. Anti-immigration groups have argued that AB 60 sends the wrong message, and that its leniency encourages more immigrants to enter California illegally. However, there is no evidence that illegal immigration in California has correlation with driver's license policy. In turn, undocumented immigration in California surged in the years after undocumented residents were banned from driving in 1994, yet, after AB 60 passed in 2013, unauthorized immigration in California has declined. (Passel and Cohn) Recently, two and a half million undocumented immigrants live in California. That is to say, unauthorized immigrants make up a large part of the society, including friends, employees, students or even relatives. Therefore, regardless of legal status, all California residents, should be able to obtain a driver's license in order to ensure public safety on the road, improve economy, and strengthens families.
             California Assembly Bill 60 may provide safety for drivers and pedestrians. One of the top reasons of hit-and-run accidents is by the undocumented immigrants without driver's licenses and insurance on their vehicles. Because they are afraid of being caught for driving illegally and even being banished from the United States, they drive off or flee the scene of the accident. Moreover, unlicensed driver, many of whom are undocumented, get in more accidents, and cause more fatal accidents. In part, due to the lack of proper driver's education, unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal crash, according to a 2012 DMV study. (Brar, p31) Furthermore, one in five fatal crashes involves an unlicensed driver, according to a 2011 AAA Foundation study.("Unlicensed to Kill", p14) Therefore, allowing undocumented immigrants to take proper driver's education to, learn how to drive legally and safely, is an excellent public safety measure and a practical, legislation.

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