East County News Service
January 2, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Starting January 1st, California has begun issuing special driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Across San Diego, lines formed as immigrants stepped up to apply for the new licenses, which are valid only for driving and are not valid for use as a federal ID, such as applying for a passport.
A total of 10 states now allow licenses for undocumented immigrants. Under the new law, Assembly Bill 60, immigrants need only provide proof of identification, a thumbprint, and California residence, such as a rental lease or utility bill.
They must also past a written test on driving rules which is available in several languages, however the driving test will be given only in English.
Advocates argue that undocumented immigrants were already driving to go to work, take children to school or for other activities, though at risk of fines if found driving without a license. By requiring licenses, the state can assure that drivers have insurance and know the rules of the road. That helps protect public safety and also allows the state to collect fees for the new licenses.
The Department of Motor Vehicles has hired hundreds of new employees to meet demand, since as many as 1.4 million applications are expected. The DMV is also opening on Saturdays to handle drivers license applications.