POLITICS

In first year, California issues 605,000 driver's licenses to immigrants

FILE - In this June 30, 2011 file photo, a customer walks into a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Redwood City, Calif. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted a last-minute extension giving the state of California more time to comply with a federal Real ID Act, which sets stricter standards on identification. The state Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, that the federal agency would have until Oct. 10, 2016 to comply with the rules. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

FILE - In this June 30, 2011 file photo, a customer walks into a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Redwood City, Calif. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted a last-minute extension giving the state of California more time to comply with a federal Real ID Act, which sets stricter standards on identification. The state Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, that the federal agency would have until Oct. 10, 2016 to comply with the rules. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

California issued more than a half-million driver's licenses under a new law granting the identifying documents to immigrants who may be in the country illegally.

The Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday that 605,000 licenses were issued since AB60 took effect last January. That's out of 830,000 applications.

AB60 allows people who can't prove they're in the country legally to obtain driver's licenses using identification from their home countries.

They also must prove California residency and pass written and driving tests.

Supporters pushed for the law as a safety measure, arguing that many immigrants already get behind the wheel but lack the training and testing required of other drivers and may not carry insurance.

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