Bill Could Issue Special Driver's License for Border-Crossers - NBC Bay Area

Bill Could Issue Special Driver's License for Border-Crossers



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    NBC 7 San Diego

    Jane Juris and her husband drive down from Los Angeles to visit family in Tijuana every two weeks. However, when it comes to crossing the border, they'd rather walk than drive.

    "It takes so long to get through the lanes and especially with all the construction over there, they've shut lanes down. They have lanes open; you don't know what lanes to get into,“ said Juris who lives in the Pasadena community of Los Angeles.

    To make things easier local leaders are pushing state lawmakers to pass a bill that would create an enhanced driver’s license to use at California's ports of entry.

    “It's a way to utilize an identification that almost everyone has adding on that nationality aspect so that it could be used across the border,“ said Jason Wells, CEO of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce.

    Wells has helped State Assemblyman Ben Hueso lobby for the special enhanced license, otherwise known as AB-17.

    "We're losing 5.3 billion dollars a year in the states and another 3.2 billion in Mexico just by wait times. So anything you can do to reduce that, is going to become cost effective, “explained Wells.

    He says the license would be optional and would cost $75.

    "I think it will be a lot easier. I had to get a passport and it's pretty pricey,“ said Fermin Iglesias who travels to TJ from Los Angeles to see the dentist.

    "It is more convenient because actually I have some friends that don't have a passport, but they do have a driver's license,“ said San Diego resident Alejandra Likes.

    For many it could eliminate the need to carry extra documentation while finally reducing border wait times.

    "You get your driver's license anyway and so if you're going to come here just get the right kind of documentation and just drive across,” said Juris.

    If the bill passes and enough people opt for the enhanced driver's license, Customs and Border Protection would then add more “Ready Lanes” to help expedite border crossing.

    Currently, only four states use the enhanced driver's license: Washington, Vermont, Michigan and New York.