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According to the California state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a surge of new undocumented customers is expected to apply for a driving license. Beginning on January 2, unauthorized immigrants will be allowed to take the test for a driver’s license under a new but very controversial state law.
Although the agency anticipates high demand, legal citizens who need to renew a license or help with some other type of service will not be impacted. To accommodate all customers, the DMV has added staff and extended its hours of operation. In addition, several new locations have been opened specifically for immigrants. Because of this, the more traditional DMV locations can continue to serve customers as needed.
In a statement from Jessica Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the DMV, this new law will not impact anyone who needs to renew a driver’s license. She added that all of the applicants looking to get a new license are required to schedule an appointment unless going to one of the special processing centers in the state where walk-in service is being offered.
At this time, the DMV anticipates roughly 1.4 million undocumented individuals across the state of California will apply for a license over a period of several years. Gonzalez also stated that if local offices begin to feel a strain because of the surge, the San Marcos temporary office can easily be converted into a full-tie processing center by the middle of next year.
Customers are strongly encouraged to make an appointment and because the first and last day of each month is expected to be extremely busy, choose a different day to go.
Under the new law known as “The Safe and Responsible Drivers Act” or “Assembly Bill 60”, individuals who live in the state of California illegally are allowed to apply for a driver’s license. While a number of similar bills had not passed over the past several years, this legislature was passed last year and signed off by Governor Jerry Brown.
It took until now for the DMV to get prepared to handle the surge of new customers and people who support the law believe that roads in California will actually become safer since undocumented immigrants will have to complete driver’s training and testing.
In addition, anyone who gets a driver’s licensed under this law is mandated to have automobile insurance. On the driver’s licenses for immigrants, the phrase “Federal Limits Apply” will appear on the front and on the back side, there will be an explanation that the license is designed strictly for driving and nothing more, to include being used as identification for boarding an airplane.
People who disagree with “The Safe and Responsible Drivers Act” claim it clearly breaks the law and that with a driver’s license in hand, there will not only be issues of fraud being committed but great potential for increased risks pertaining to the country’s security.
Last year, president of the Taxpayer Revolution group located in San Diego, Ted Hilton, said that allowing undocumented immigrants the ability to get a driver’s license is incentive for them to stay in the US. Instead, state legislatures along with Congress need to have millions of people who receive welfare moved into jobs currently held by undocumented immigrant workers.
Starting in January 2015, California will become the tenth state that allows people in the United States illegally to get a driver’s license. The other states where this is considered legal include Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, Utah, Washington DC, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, and Maryland.