California immigrants soon can seek driver’s licenses

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Sacramento Bee: The powerful storm lashing Sacramento kept many people home last Thursday, but Rosario Aguilar was not among them. After eight years of living and driving unlawfully in California, the chance to get a legitimate license led him through sheets of rain to an information session held at a community services center tucked behind an Autozone on Fruitridge Road.
“It’s very important,” Aguilar said in Spanish, a gray hoodie cinched tightly around his head. He said his job pouring concrete at construction sites requires him to drive extensively. “The license,” he said, “we want it, practically, so we can drive obeying the laws of California, which I think is a big step.”
State officials are encouraging more than a million undocumented immigrants illegal aliens living in California to step forward and apply for licenses. Reactions in the immigrant community, Aguilar said, span a spectrum.
“There’s two things: excitement and doubt,” Aguilar said. “A lot of fear, because you never know where all this information is going to go, but also … we’re excited because we want a license to be safer out on the roads.”
For years, the efforts to authorize driver’s licenses for California’s undocumented population centered in the Capitol. Bills to create such licenses reappeared year after year, advancing as far as the desks of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Gray Davis before dying at the tip of a veto pen.
That changed in 2013. Legislation drew support from members of Sacramento’s Latino caucus, moderate Democrats and some Republicans. Eager to contrast California’s leadership on immigration with Washington’s gridlock, Gov. Jerry Brown signed it.
Now the policy has moved from the Capitol corridors to the streets of California, where as many as 1.4 million undocumented immigrants illegal aliens will be able to obtain driver’s licenses and insurance starting Jan. 2. It marks a watershed moment for immigrant advocates – and a monumental logistical undertaking.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is bracing for an influx of applicants. Community organizations and elected officials are telling a community often accustomed to avoiding attention to gather their documents, study hard and walk into a government building.
“A lot of immigrants are nervous coming to official state offices,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville. Alejo followed the bill authorizing new licenses with one ensuring the DMV won’t share information with other agencies. “That continues to be one of the main concerns coming from undocumented immigrants illegal aliens: Will they be discriminated against?”
Nevertheless, demand for the new license appears to be strong. In the latter half of November 2013, DMV customers made 175,911 driver’s license appointments. This year, the number vaulted to 378,891. Anticipating that spike, the DMV is spending $67 million to hire 900 employees, extend hours and open four new field offices, including an East San Jose location heralded as the state’s largest. After the DMV ran phone banks in concert with Spanish-speaking TV stations such as Telemundo and Univision, “the calls were just pouring in,” department spokesman Artemio Armenta said.
Many of the calls, Armenta said, centered on what would be required to obtain a license. Applicants will need documents establishing their identity and California residency.
A list of acceptable documents includes foreign identification cards, which for natives of countries other than Mexico must be supplemented by a birth certificate; and documents that can be used to establish residency, such as mortgage and utility bills, school records and “faith-based documents” such as a letter from a church. Mexican officials successfully lobbied to have consular cards issued to Mexican nationals living in California, or matricula consulars, deemed eligible to prove identity.
Immigrants who cannot produce sufficient documentation have the option to come into the DMV for an interview. Assuming they can prove who they are, undocumented immigrants illegal aliens will then be asked to follow the same process as legal residents: passing a written exam and a road test. Studies conducted by the DMV show a higher failure rate on the written Spanish language tests than the English version, with three-quarters of Spanish speakers failing on their first attempt.
Advocates say part of the reason involves the lower levels of education among some undocumented immigrants illegal aliens. A representative of an organization that has held test-preparation classes in Los Angeles said another problem involves uneven translations. Words such as “curb” and “trailer” can carry different meanings throughout Latin America.
“Some of the words being used are not quite translating to the majority of Spanish-speaking Mexicans,” said Apolonio Morales, political director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Still, Morales said, “the language, the education varies, but it’s not so much so that folks can’t pass a basic test or won’t understand road signs. Those are things you can learn even as an adult.”
Proponents of the new law included law enforcement groups such as the California Police Chiefs Association. Whether people are in California legally or not, the group argued, they still need to drive to work and school. Requiring undocumented immigrants already on the road to pass a driving test and obtain insurance would bolster public safety.
“It has nothing to do with if they’re in the country legally or illegally,” said Julie Powell, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol. “Our main concern is that the people of California are safe, and one way to assist in accomplishing that mission is to make sure California drivers are tested, trained and insured.”
Undocumented immigrants illegal aliens who drove without a license in the past risked having their cars impounded when they were pulled over. That will continue, Powell said. “The only thing that will change is we’ll see more licensed drivers, but the way we deal with unlicensed drivers is the same,” Powell said.

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0 responses to “California immigrants soon can seek driver’s licenses

  1. Reblogged this on ForThoseILove and commented:
    Future Democrats

  2. and with driver’s license in hand, all those illegal aliens can now register to vote, that is, assuming they aren’t already voting. What a great state! What a great country! [SARC]

    • You are absolutely right Dr. Eowyn, that’s what it’s all about for the democrats, just another way to cheat the vote. It’s so hard watching the unscrupulous politicians flush our country down the third world country drain.

    • yep, with the illegal driver’s licenses they can vote, open bank accounts, rent apartments, etc…amazing how they are given so much in this country as they thumb their noses at our laws and politicians grovel to allow them here because corporations and politicians are strange bedfellows (illegals benefit corporations for cheap labor and govt subsidies that they don’t have to pay, the tax payer does)….however, in mexico…we have NO rights

    • Well, at least they won’t be undocumented anymore…

  3. We have had a major rash of hit and run fatalities here in taxachusetts during the past couple years, at least 5-6 a week reported in the news and in the few cases they catch the driver almost always an illegal from guatelama, el salvadore, mexico or puta rico, etc all who had numerous other traffic violations DUI, operating with a license or registration. Nothing seems to ever get done about this
    Welcome to el Americo

  4. It’s very interesting that the man featured in this blog says . . . he wants a license so he can be S-A-F-E-R on the roads? I do believe that is a Crock!

  5. Great drivers license photo, DCG!

  6. Throw up time!
    Sent from Samsung tablet

  7. Of COURSE I’m not surprised-it’s MEXIFORNIA! The Constitution’s no good here!Lawful and Legal are antiquated notions to be ignored and scoffed at. I’m getting a work party together to build a 12 foot high electrified chain link fence covered with razor wire,all the way down Mexifornia’s border with Nevada;anyone want to help or contribute materials? We’ll put a few legal “crossings” in,but anyone who wants to come to Nevada will have to show LEGAL proof of Citizenship and pass a test on the US Constitution,and for those who can’t comply and want to try to find a way to sneak across,the Militias guarding the fenceline will be glad to return the survivors or parts to their “Socialist Country of Mexifornia”.
    (Satire),or maybe not…

    • truck–this sounds like an action movie…….the script doesn’t even need a lot of writing or touch up….we could just all collaborate from CA. AZ. NM, TX, NV, maybe a few more….on the content of scenarios/dialogue and we would have a great contemporary film for release. I like the term “Mexifornia” but I prefer to think of it as being “Californicated.”

  8. The Left Wing is very well organised, with new legislation and announcements and sneaky clauses in omnibus bills. They’re like rust, they never sleep (left coast metaphor, sorry for that).
    And they have been working at it and getting better at it and steadily converting the weak minded and the anarchists to where they’re half the voters. Next they’ll add a punch of illegal tattooed ass-clowns to the ranks.
    Where is the team representing the non-leftwingers, the non-commie and pro- constitutionalists, or are they the financial-industrial-military-pharmo complex. This country needed faith based morality to maintain the balance in our culture, and faith based morality has been vanquished from the public’s consciousness.
    America had better wake up

    • I’m with you on all counts AMEN! The Satnists and Communists have been hard at work through much of the 20th century and they see a clear view of their triumph unimpeded now in the 21st.
      Hardly soul has opposed them, and those that have spoken up have been ridiculed, deposed or eliminated


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