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DC mayor signs bill allowing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants

Washington, DC, Mayor Vincent Gray [official website], signed [press release] into law the DC Drivers Safety Amendment Act of 2013 [text, PDF] on Monday, which will allow the District Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) [official website] to issue "limited purpose" driver's licenses to undocumented DC residents. Gray introduced [press release] the bill in May, saying, "the legislation is the right thing to do for our undocumented residents and our entire community." If individuals cannot prove citizenship, the identification cards will be stamped [WP report] with, "not valid for official federal purposes." According to Gray, these licenses will enable immigrants to have better access to jobs, schools and houses of worship, but they will not allow individuals to board commercial aircraft or enter government buildings. The new law will take effect in May.

Several US states have enacted similar initiatives. California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed [JURIST report] a bill into law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses in October. In May the Connecticut Senate [JURIST report] approved a similar bill that took effect this month. In January Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license if they could prove they had resided in the state for one year prior to the application.

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