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Puerto Rico grants temporary driver’s licenses to undocumented migrants

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico signed into law a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. territory to obtain a temporary driver’s license.

In about a year, undocumented immigrants and migrant workers will be able to apply for 6-year drivers licenses, as opposed to the 6-year licenses carried by U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. Licenses for undocumented immigrants will also be designed differently than regular licenses, but they will not state the ID holder’s immigration status. People will only be able to use the driver’s license for operating motor vehicles and proving identity.

The Governor signed the House bill into law Thursday, announced Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Executive Director Juan E. Hernández in a news release.

“This law provides a greater measure of justice for immigrants who seek to responsibly integrate into the community, while at the same guaranteeing driver and passenger safety in the country’s public roads,” Hernández said. “The governor is committed to eliminating all types of discrimination in order to ensure a government that is fair to everyone.”

The bill passed through the House of Representatives 29-18 in mid-June. The law will go into effect in one year so the Puerto Rican Government can take that time to educate people on the details of the law, implications of the bill, and how it will affect the island.

“The García-Padilla Administration will also continue supporting the efforts of President Obama and Members of Congress of both parties to achieve comprehensive immigration reform that brings 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, improves border security,” he said. “Including the Caribbean border – and increases economic opportunities for our workers.”

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