California has joined the ranks of states that allow illegal immigrants to legally drive. "When a million people without their documents drive legally with respect to the state of California, the rest of this country will have to stand up and take notice," said Gov. Jerry Brown at yesterday's signing, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some 1.4 million immigrants are likely to apply within three years; the state may set up six temporary issuing offices.
The law suggests calling the documents "driving privileges" rather than "driver's licenses," but discrimination over the distinction is banned, the AP notes. The bill was backed by police because drivers "will be more likely to have been tested, to have insurance, or to know the rules of the road," says LAPD chief Charlie Beck. But a note of caution comes from New Mexico, one of 10 states that already issues such licenses. "It's been a disaster," says the state's secretary for taxation and revenue. "We have had a lot of identity fraud." (Read more Jerry Brown stories.)