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Immigrants Receive Warning About California Driver’s Licenses

ca-dlAlthough thousands of immigrants residing in California are eager to get their driver’s licenses, many others are being told to think twice about it.

Advocates for undocumented immigrants state that most illegal aliens will be able to get their driver’s licenses without issue.  They are warning others, however,to contact a lawyer before seeking a new drivers license if they have used a false name or social security number in the past.  The same advice holds true for immigrants who have a criminal record or past deportation order since law enforcement and federal immigration officials have full access to the Department of Motor Vehicles files and data during investigations.  This advice given is certainly not meant to scare immigrants since many are already risking getting a ticket because they are driving their kids to school or are going to work. But, it is also important that immigrants understand that there are some risks involved.

Immigrants Driving Without Licenses

The most populated statein the US is gearing up to begin issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally to try to ease the fears of over a million people and to make the roads a safer place to travel. The California program eclipses the scale and scope of programs approved in nine other states, including Colorado, Illinois and Nevada.

California expects over 1.3 million people to begin applying for their driver’s licenses over the next three years. The amount of people who have applied for license appointments has more than doubled to 379,000 in the first two weeks immigrants have been allowed to sign up.

No Major Problems With Program For Immigrants Driver’s Licenses

Advocates for immigrants do not foresee any major problems with the program because the state has had more than a full year to prepare and has allocated a total budget of $141 million over the next three years.  Colorado did not have enough funding to begin issuing licenses and could not keep up with the demand, leading to waiting periods that were over two months long.

Concerns have been voiced by critics over how the state will be able to verify the identities of immigrants.  Just like all other applicants, residency and proof of identity are required.  Those who do not have a consular identification card or a passport are able to submit types of documents, which will be reviewed by a DMV investigator to see if they are acceptable.  Advocacy groups and Mexican consulates have been holding driver’s license preparation classes for several months.

If you or someone you know would like legal counsel regarding this or any other immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting their website or calling their offices at 512-215-5225.