According to the Los Angeles Times, an estimated 605,000 licenses were issued last year under Assembly Bill 60, the measure passed last year that grants the right to a California driver’s license to people in the country illegally. The figure accounts for almost half of all licenses issued in California last year. Officer Josh Nelson, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, suggested the measure likely improved highway safety in California. “Knowing that these drivers are being properly trained in order to get their licenses, it would only make sense that the roads would be safer,” he said.
California’s controversial A.B.60 licensing program–allowing undocumented motorists to obtain valid driver’s licenses–is experiencing the problems of success. Six months into the new law, the DMV has received about 642,000 applications and issued about 341,000 driver’s licenses. The influx of applications has caused a backlog across the state. New procedures, however, promise to streamline the process and speed up the approval. Recently DMV has expanded the number of acceptable documents applicants may submit to establish their identity, which in turn reduces the number of applications sent for “secondary review.” Among the documents now accepted are California residency documents issued by any government within the U.S. (not just the federal government); Consular cards from Colombia and Ecuador; Identification cards from Ecuador; Passports from Tonga, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea. By accepting more types of documents as proof of identity, DMV hopes to reduce the number of applications sent for “secondary review” by examiners. Erika Paz, who for the past year has mobilized many undocumented Inland residents to apply for licenses, said she’s heard from many people who have waited about six months to hear from the DMV in order to schedule their secondary review interviews. But things are improving. “Something that’s good is we’re seeing a lot more people get their letters to go to their interview,” Paz said. “We’re seeing movement.”
DMV has made it easier for motorists to get licenses under the so-called undocumented motorist program established by Assembly Bill 60. As of June 30, 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will begin accepting: California residency documents that are issued by any government within the U.S., not just the federal government. Consular cards from Colombia and Ecuador. (The Colombia Consular Card was added to the list of accepted documents in anticipation of the new Consular card being produced by the Colombian Consulate. Currently this card is not in production.) Identification cards from Ecuador. Passports from Tonga, Sri Lanka, and Republic of Korea. Motorists with these documents will no longer have to provide their birth certificates as well.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Wednesday re-stated his opposition to licensing undocumented drivers on a talk radio show. Governor Christie, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, seemed to confuse an undocumented driver’s license with a traditional form of identification. “It is the single most important form of identification, it gets you on to airplanes…all the things that you need to do to identify yourself a driver’s license does that. I cannot give drivers licenses to people who I cannot be sure who they are and it’s that simple.” Christie becomes the second presidential contender in two weeks to announce a position on licensing undocumented drivers, following that of Hillary Rodham Clinton last week.