By Chris Megerian, September 19, 2014
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, second from right, and other state and local
officials give a thumbs-up as Gov. Jerry Brown holds up a signed bill
allowing immigrants lacking legal immigration status to obtain
California driver's licenses on Oct. 13, 2013. Federal officials
approved new wording on...
Federal officials have approved new wording on California driver's
licenses that would be issued to immigrants in the country illegally,
according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The letter is a key step toward implementing legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.
"We are moving forward with this design," said Jessica Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
approved wording says "federal limits apply" on the front of the card,
an indication that the license cannot be used for federally regulated
purposes like boarding an airplane.
Federal officials had rejected
an earlier proposed design, which only had a subtle mark on the front
and a disclaimer on the back saying, "This card is not acceptable for
official federal purposes."
California is scheduled to begin
issuing the new licenses Jan. 1, and the debate over designing the cards
has been an ongoing issue. Federal law requires the licenses to be
distinguishable from those issued to citizens and legal residents.
advocates for immigrants in the country illegally have fought to
eliminate, or at least minimize, design differences, saying they would
amount to a scarlet letter and prompt discrimination.
Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) said he was pleased by the federal government's decision.
elated that parents taking their kids to school will no longer have to
constantly check their rear-view mirror thanks to this common sense
agreement between Homeland Security and California,” he said in a