Program Allowing Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s Licenses Begins

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SHAFAQNA – Undocumented immigrants in California can start applying for driver’s licenses from Friday. The California Department of Motor Vehicles expects 1.4 million people to seek a license in the first three years of the AB 60 program.

Supporters say the move will boost road safety, while also making life easier for undocumented immigrants.

Officials said they cannot predict how many people will line up immediately to apply, but the number of people making appointments for a license more than doubled when immigrants were allowed to sign up.

Appointments are required to apply for a license except at four newly-created DMV offices.

California is one of 10 states that now provide licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. The licenses issued to immigrants without legal status will include a distinctive marking and are not considered a valid form of federal identification.

Immigrants in the country illegally have not been allowed to apply for a driver’s license in California since the state began requiring proof of legal presence during the 1990s.

Immigrant advocates have cheered the licenses as a way to integrate immigrants who must drive to work and shuttle children to school. But critics have questioned state officials’ ability to verify the identity of foreign applicants, citing security concerns.

Law enforcement officials say the program will improve road safety because licensed drivers must be tested and insured. A DMV study based on 23 years of crash data found that unlicensed drivers were more likely to cause a fatal collision than licensed drivers.

State insurance officials hope the change will increase the number of drivers holding auto insurance.

Source : http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Program-Allowing-Undocumented-Immigrants-to-Obtain-Driving-Licenses-Begins–287325991.html

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