The rights of undocumented immigrants are expanding in California with a newly-enacted law concerning driver's licenses. Starting in 2015, the new law gives immigrants living in California the right to apply for a valid driver's license. This will be possible regardless of the applicant's immigration lawclinic.com/Family-Based-Immigration/">citizenship status.
The new law stems from Assembly Bill 60, which was signed by the governor last October. State officials expect the number of driver's license applications they will process in the upcoming years to go up dramatically. They are currently making plans to deal with the increase.
Undocumented immigrants are covered under the law, even if they cannot prove they are legally allowed to reside in the United States. Applicants must prove they are residents of California. They must also verify their identity. As long as the applicant meets these and any other requirements for receiving a driver's license, he or she is eligible to do so.
Estimates from the Department of Motor Vehicles indicate that almost 1.5 million additional license applications are expected once the law is put into place in 2015. The state plans to hire about 900 more people to deal with the influx. It will also open new offices and expand some that already exist to handle the increased demand.
Once this law goes into effect, its impact could be tremendous for those both with or without citizenship. Many undocumented immigrants living in California will soon be able to achieve legal status in at least one area of their lives. For some, it could make an immeasurable difference in their lives as they continue to pursue their dream of achieving their dream of U.S. citizenship or other lawfully documented status.
Source: The Fresno Bee, New Fresno DMV will process licenses for undocumented immigrants, Tim Sheehan, Jan. 14, 2014