Illegal students to get driver's licenses

Gov. Brown signs bill into law

POSTED: 05:30 PM PDT Oct 01, 2012 
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Undocumented students who were brought to the U.S. as a child will now get a chance to get a driver's license. Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial bill into law late Sunday.

Christian Cabrera was brought to the U.S. by her parents when she was 11 years old.

"I am really thankful to the US by all the opportunities that were given to me, like education being the primary thing. I know that back home that was something that I would have never gotten the chance to go to a university to a college," says Cabrera.

Before this law, Cabrera says she lived in fear.

"When we go out of school and go out of work, we always get that fear that the police is going to stop us and take our cars away, and sometimes immigration is there to take you and deport you. I was just really relieved that this was finally going to happen," says Cabrera.

The new law allows illegal immigrants eligible for work permits under a new Obama administration policy, to get driver's licenses. This applies to students like Cabrera, who came to the U.S. before they were 16 and who haven't been in trouble with the law.

Cabrera says, "It means a lot to me just to be able to go out and realize that I don't have that fear anymore."

But not everyone agrees illegal immigrants should be allowed to come to the DMV to get a driver's license.

Michael Stein says, "It is ridiculous it should never happen."

Bernard West says, "Its sort of backwards. You are going to give them a license, but they aren't legal in the state of California."

Stein says, "Illegal is illegal. They should not have the right to drive, if they are here illegally."

But when we specifically asked about undocumented kids, most people paused.

Stein says, "That's in the gray area. I'm not sure about that but, someone who has snuck in not privileges what so ever."

Eric Richter says, "I would have to give some thought about that one. Bottom line is that if you don't have documentation, then you probably shouldn't have a license."

Cabrera says, "I understand from their point of view but, I didn't ask to come to this country. It was my parents decision and I consider myself a good citizen. I haven't done anything wrong to this country, I haven't done a felony, a misdemeanor or anything like that. I am a good student. I am doing good in school. I have my dreams and I feel that I will be helping the community."

The new law takes affect January 1st.