Emotions run high over license law

Activism remains alive and well in the Claremont as evidenced by Tuesday’s demonstration surrounding Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60), a new law that went into effect on January 1.

AB 60 requires that the Department of Motor Vehicles issue a driver’s license to any applicant who can prove identity, California residency and can meet all other testing requirements, regardless of immigration status.

Equipped with signs that read “Secure the Border” and “No to AB 60,” nearly a dozen members of Claremont-based “We the People Rising” stood outside city hall and took their turn on the bullhorn shouting, “Repeal AB 60, Put America first,” as an international news crew filmed nearby.

“Statistics show that even in our state the majority of voters do not accept that people in our country illegally should be given licenses, so it’s going against the will of the American people in this state,” says Robin Hvidston, an Upland resident and executive director of We the People Rising. “Our issue is the tax dollars. They’ve opened four special offices to people who are here illegally. They should open four special offices for our homeless, to our veterans, to our unemployed Americans and that is our issue. This is energy and money that is not being spent in the best interest of the state.”

Latino/Latina Roundtable Vice President Angela Sanbramo disagrees. Outside city hall, the Pitzer graduate, along with half a dozen other people in support of the bill, believes AB 60 is in the best interest of all Californians. Licensed drivers, regardless of immigration status, will make the roadways safer for all.

“AB 60 is going to allow everyone that’s driving to take a test and pass a test to get a license,” says Ms. Sanbramo. “Driving in California is a necessity. You need to go to work, to go to school, to take your kids to the dentist. It’s not like you can live in California without driving. I’d much rather see everyone that is going to be behind the wheel be tested and to have a license. And I think that’s the issue.”

AB 60 allows illegal immigrants to apply for all non-commercial driver’s licenses offered through the DMV, including Class C (most cars), motorcycles, travel trailers and some RVs. The license can be used to drive, as well as a legal state identification.

An AB 60-issued license will differ in appearance from a standard California driver’s license in that the front will state “Federal Limits Apply” on the top right corner above the class designation, in the same color and font as other words. Additionally, the back of the card will include the statement “not valid for official federal purposes.” The license will otherwise look similar to those currently issued California drivers’ licenses.

The DMV expects to receive 1.4 million applications during the first three years following the inception of AB 60.

The DMV has an AB 60 website at www.ab60.dmv.ca.gov, which contains a complete list of acceptable documents that can be used to verify identity and residency, a copy of the driver handbook, sample knowledge tests, appointment information and other materials.

Online appointments can be scheduled as far as 90 days in advance at www.dmv.ca.gov or by calling (800) 777-0133.

—Angela Bailey



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