For young people like Ricardo Muñiz, getting a license and being able to drive would make life much simpler.
Muñiz, 24, lives and works in Anaheim and attends Fullerton College, where he is majoring in international business and international relations. He was brought to the United States from Mexico by his parents at age 7, and doesn't drive. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to get to school by bus, and Muñiz, who lacks legal status, doesn't drive. His mother, he said, even bought him a car – but he sold it to use the money for school.
"I would benefit if I could get a license," he said.
"A lot of us commute long distances to college," Muñiz said of friends he knows. "If we had driver's licenses, it would be easier to community universities, schools and work."
Opponents of the measure say it rewards illegal behavior.
Roy Beck is president of Numbers USA, which he said favors reductions in both legal and illegal immigration.The group fears that giving driver's licenses to people here illegally would open the doors for them to obtain other benefits and documents – even passports.
He said California might be moving too fast. The deferred-action order could be found illegal by the courts. There could be a new president, or changes in Congress following the election.
"It seems like the state is getting involved in something with long-term consequences that's very unstable," he said.
Immigrant rights groups like the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles want to see the measure approved.
Gerson Cortes, 22, who is active in the Orange County Dream Team, says those would benefit most are younger. Many are students who commute by bus to school, and to jobs that support their educations. He walks a half hour to get to Santa Ana College.
Some drive, but it would be much safer for them to have licenses, he said. And it would relieve the stress of fearing a traffic stop and impoundment of their car, which can lead to fees that exceed the value of a vehicle.
Read more about Licenses: public good or reward for lawbreakers?