Illegal immigrants living in California will be eligible to apply for driver's licenses under a law signed on Thursday by Governor Jerry Brown, in the latest action to expand privileges for such immigrants in the state.
The legislation is a major victory for Latino and immigration rights activists, who have fought for decades for such a law, and it is expected to spur 1.4 million people to apply for licenses over three years.
The bill was previously passed by the Democrat-led state legislature on votes of 28-8 in the Senate and 55-19 in the Assembly. Brown initially threatened to veto it but changed his position after advocates promised it would not conflict with federal law.
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"This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally," Brown, a Democrat, said when he signaled his support of the bill. "Hopefully it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."