The California Department of Motor Vehicles is anticipating an onslaught of driver’s license applications by undocumented residents allowed by Assembly Bill 60. Although the law takes effect at the first of next year, plans are underway to open four massive license application centers. Nearly a thousand new employees will also be hired, many of them bilingual.
The agency estimates that as many as 1.4 million undocumented residents will apply. Proponents of the law say the licenses will ensure that drivers who don’t have legal immigration status can handle a vehicle, know the rules of the road and get insurance.
Currently licenses are not issued to those who are in the country illegally. The experience that the state of Nevada is being noted by California officials. Ninety percent of undocumented residents who applied for that state’s new driver’s license law flunked the written test. Many didn’t know that they would be tested on the day they applied.
“You are going to have to take a vision, a written and a driver’s test,” said DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzales of new applicants.
She says DMV is urging undocumented driver’s license applicants to study the DMV drivers manual which is available in 10 languages, including Spanish.
DMV is still struggling over what proof of residency and I.D. documentation they will require. They could include a birth certificate or a consular I.D. The DMV director can opt to begin accepting license applications once a decision is made and a public comment period is completed.