Thousands of illegal immigrants flooded California’s DMVs on Friday as the Golden State began processing appointments and giving exams that will grant approximately 1.4 million driver’s licenses over the course of the next three years. The licenses will be issued once applicants successfully pass the written exam and a road test. In some cases, the road test will reportedly be waived.
At least 2,000 people inundated DMVs in the Bay Area alone, while over 9,300 statewide crowded DMV branches throughout the rest of California, according to the Contra Costa Times. 7,300 scheduled Saturday appointments, and many lined up as early as 4 a.m. and braved the cold for their shot at one of the foremost American rites of passage.
California became the 10th state to permit driver’s licenses to illegals. The other nine states are Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Washington State, Utah, New Mexico, District of Columbia, Connecticut and Vermont.
The DMV issues approximately 3,000 licenses on an average day. on Friday, however, 11,000 immigrants turned out. It remains unclear how many actually passed the written exam, despite some having practiced for months in several cases. “Nobody’s passing,” said Veronica Oropeza, 28, who has been driving in California without a license for six years, notes the Sacramento Bee. She reportedly failed her written exam twice.
When Arizona opened its DMVs up so that illegal immigrants could apply for licenses last year, a whopping 71% failed the written portion of the exam within the first three days.
The passage of Assembly Bill 60 by Governor Jerry Brown has proven to be a tremendous point of contention between Democrats and Republicans alike, for very different reasons. AB 60 was championed by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) who suggested this new law would make the roads safer and drivers more responsible, notes the Contra Costa Times. Alejo suggested unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal crash. However, the study Alejo was referring to included suspended and revoked licenses as part of the statistics as well.
Republicans are credited with ensuring that driver’s licenses for illegals physically look different than those of United States citizens. The front of the licenses will reportedly say “Federal Limits Apply,” and the back will read “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes.”
Many Republicans have voiced concerns that the message being sent out through the passage of AB 60 will encourage a greater influx of illegal immigrants into California’s already overwhelmed population.
Adelle Nazarian in on Twitter @AdelleNaz