Providing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants in California did not come without controversy. AB 60, which was passed in 2017, allowed illegal immigrants to apply for a special driver's license if they were able to prove California residency. The special license allows the holders to driver legally in California, but they aren't allowed for federal identification purposes.
Now, more than one year later, Cedillo is celebrating the face that more than one million of those special licenses have been issued. Cedillo says, the law was about increasing public safety for everyone on the roads.
"This is fundamentally about highway safety. It's very important for all states to understand that," Cedillo told KFI's Kris Ankarlo. "There are studies from Stanford University that tell us that our streets and highways are much safer because all our motorists are licensed and insured."
And the study from the Stanford University Immigration Policy Lab seems to back that up. The study found that there was 4,000 fewer hit-and-run accidents in the first year after the law went into effect.
We find that, contrary to concerns voiced by opponents of the law, AB60 has had no discernible short-term effect on the number of accidents. The law primarily allowed existing unlicensed drivers to legalize their driving.
We also find that, although AB60 had no effect on the rate of fatal accidents, it did decrease the rate of hit and run accidents, suggesting that the policy reduced fears of deportation and vehicle impoundment.
The controversial law is still under fire by critics who say it grants illegal immigrants privileges they don't deserve.
To qualify for the license under AB 60, applicants must be able to prove their identity, and residency in California as well as pass the written exam and a driving test. Applicants must also submit thumbprints and show proof of insurance among other requirements.
Twelve states across the nation allow illegal immigrants to get driver licenses.