A 2013 law that allows undocumented immigrants to attain driver’s licenses will go into effect on Friday, marking the first time in 20 years that individuals who are living in California illegally will be permitted to apply for one. The law took effect Jan. 1 but the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was closed on Thursday, January 1 in observance of New Year’s Day.
The DMV expects 1.4 million illegal immigrants to apply for licenses over the course of the next three years, according to local public radio stationKQED. The licenses will not look the same as ordinary driver’s licenses. Republicans are credited with pushing for that distinction, which is included in a bill (AB 60) that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in September of 2013. 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,” notes KQED.
Applicants will need to prove that California is their place of residence. Most applicants will only need to furnish one form of identification if they are among the following list of acceptable IDs: an existing California license or ID Card, a Mexican Federal Electoral Card, a Mexican Passport, or a Mexican Matricula Consular, or an approved foreign passport.
In an interview with Breitbart News this past November, former gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly told Breitbart News that the inclusion of the Mexican Consular Card in the list is a cause for concern. “I know it is a document even the FBI has been concerned about,” Donnelly said. “The U.S. Government has done an extensive amount of research on the Matricula Consular, to assess its viability as a reliable means of identification. The Department of Justice and the FBI have concluded that the Matricula Consular is not a reliable form of identification, due to the non-existence of any means of verifying the true identity of the card holder.”
Several DMVs have reportedly been inundated with the sheer volume of online requests to schedule appointments for new licenses at the beginning of 2015. Richard Portales, who has voluntarily taught classes to nearly 1,000 students to help them prepare for the DMV exam, told KQED that many illegals are still apprehensive about whether to apply for the licenses out of fear they might still be deported.
Four new DMVs have been temporarily set up specifically for the processing of the 1.4 million new immigrant licenses. KQED notes that they are located in Granada Hills, Lompoc, Stanton and San Jose. The new real estate and personnel are reportedly projected to cost $141 million over the course of three years.
Adelle Nazarian is on Twitter @AdelleNaz