California Immigrant Rights Group: 'Driver Licenses Too Costly for Undocumented Immigrants'

California Immigrant Rights Group: 'Driver Licenses Too Costly for Undocumented Immigrants'

An immigration rights coalition known as Drive California is urging the California DMV to ease its requirements for identification documents to obtain driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Moreover, they insist that the process has become too expensive for most of them.

Southern California 89.3 KPCC reported that Reshma Shamasunder, executive director of one of the coalition’s member organizations, the California Immigrant Policy Center, complained that the DMV is asking applicants to produce both a consular ID card and a foreign passport. “Acquiring both can be prohibitively expensive and actually impossible for some,” she said. 

Getting a Mexican passport and a consular ID could cost up to $128 a person. Consequently, the group is urging that only one document be required. Consular cards are easily obtained by any Mexican citizen who is living abroad from a local Mexican consulate. 

Adding to their anguish, according to Shamasunder, getting to the Mexican consulate in San Bernardino and obtaining the documents is a burden, because “half the people don’t have reliable transportation.” DMV spokesman Armando Botello claims that the agency is doing all they can to facilitate the immigrants in getting their licenses. He explained that one can set up an interview with a DMV investigator, who will try to verify identity with the use of income tax returns or marriage licenses.

Next week, hearings will take place in Oakland and Los Angeles aimed at making licenses more easily attainable for undocumented immigrants.


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