Editors note: This story was updated to include an additional statement from the DMV.
For Maria, AB 60 has meant a sense of freedom.
“It has helped me a lot because before I had a license I would get a lot of tickets and they would take my car away,” said Maria.
Maria is one of the more than one million undocumented individuals who benefit from the 2015 AB 60 law.
A law that allows those living in the U.S illegally to get a drivers license.
Eleazar Valdez an immigration advocate in the Valley said AB 60 has given immigrants the confidence they need on the road.
“People can drive to work without having to worry about getting stopped by the police and not having an id card,” said Valdez.
According to a study by Stanford Immigration Policy Lab, the law has resulted in a reduction in hit and runs in counties statewide, Fresno being one of them.
But critics say although AB 60 has played a roll in more drivers having a valid license and auto insurance, it can lead to other things.
“The DMV doesn’t have the safeguards to make sure the individual doesn’t register to vote,” said the conservative radio host Guillermo Moreno.
The DMV says there are safeguards.
“Under AB 1461, the new California Motor Voter Program, which will begin on April 16, 2018, which does not allow undocumented Californians to register to vote,” a DMV representative said. “The new Motor Voter Program will automatically register customers to vote, if eligible, during driver license, ID card, or change of address transactions. A customer can choose to opt out of the process. Undocumented Californians are not eligible to register to vote, and the DMV has programming measures in place to prevent that from occurring.”
Maria who had to pass a written exam and driving test. submit thumbprints and show proof of insurance before getting her license, says she dreams of the day when her identification won’t read, “federal limits apply.”
“We are just waiting for the day that God will allow us to become residents that way we could also enjoy some of the things others do,” concluded Maria.