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Rep. Vargas Supports Immigrant Driver’s License Law

May 9, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (May 9, 2014) – Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging Secretary Jeh Johnson to approve California’s proposed design for licenses issued to state residents who cannot show proof of citizenship or authorized presence.  The letter authored by Rep. Vargas, and signed by 18 other Members of the California delegation, is in direct response to DHS’ unfounded rejection of the design submitted. 

“The design proposed by the State of California not only complies with the REAL ID Act of 2005, but also protects immigrants from discrimination and increases road safety,” said Rep. Vargas.  “When all Californians understand the rules of the road, are trained, tested, licensed and insured, our communities, our families, and our children are safer.”

AB 60, “The Safe and Responsible Driver Act,” which provides an avenue for undocumented immigrants in California to receive a license, was specifically written to comply with federal law.  The driver’s license design submitted to DHS included a distinctive marking on the front reading “DP” (Driving Privilege) and “NOT FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES” clearly printed on the back. 

“The unambiguous, distinguishing marks sufficiently differentiate these licenses from standard California driver’s licenses,” said Rep. Vargas.  “Requiring more prominent markings would only serve to ostracize a community that is already a primary target of scams, intolerance and extortion.”     

 Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District, which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire US/Mexico border.  Vargas is currently serving his first term in Congress.  He represented the 40th California State Senate District from 2010-2012, the 79th California State Assembly District from 2000 – 2006 and served on the San Diego City Council from 1993 – 2000.