Two months ago, migrants who entered the U.S without authorization were barred from obtaining a California drivers license. However, due to the implementation of the new statute, individuals able to furnish legal presence in the state are now able to obtain one. But is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ready to administer such a colossal number of applications? Furthermore how is the bill going to affect the general public? DMV, public information staff member Artemio Armenta shed light on the procedures.
The new law granting immigrants living in California illegally the right to apply for driver licenses has been implemented since Jan.2.”We had about a year to prepare for this new bill, and we estimated that 1.4 million new applications will be submitted within the next three years.” said DMV media relations representative Armenta. He went on to provide details on the preparations the bureau has taken, to accommodate the multitude of people flooding into their offices. In addition to extending up-to-date figures of applications submitted and licenses approved, Armenta also clarified on specifics regarding requisites and restrictions AB60 grants beneficiaries.
Preparations to cater to the massive amount of people applying for driver licenses began with the opening of four temporary Driver License Processing Centers (DLPC). Located in Granada Hills, Lompoc, San Jose and Stanton California, “the facilities are three times the size of an average DMV office.” said Armenta. Initially 900 new hires were estimated to staff the DLPC’s, a figure that has risen closer to 1,000 so far. Additionally, outreach meetings with community organizations, press releases and every possible channel was used to keep the public informed, and the actions transparent, according to the spokesperson.
On the closing day of week seven since the inception of the statute, 79,000 licenses have been issued under AB60 and half a million applications have been submitted thus far. Judging by the number of applicants to this day, the anticipated 1.4 million applicants within three years will most likely be exceeded. With such a large number of new drivers, how is this going to affect the general populace?
According to a beneficiary of the new bill, a 29 year old Mexican national who asked to be addressed only as Mr. Vazquez, the results are simply favorable. ” I was driving without a license anyhow” said Vazquez, who then continued to point out to the fact that his case was not uncommon and that banning a large group of people from driving legally only led to people driving without suitable insurance. “This law will only boost up the economy,…. the DMV will generate revenue from the fees on the applications, people will put money into cars, and insurance companies will gain customers, resulting in jobs being created in all these industries.” Vazquez declared.
Chris Moreno, a 48 year old mechanical piping designer and registered Democrat, from Chicago Ill. Has been residing in California since 199, and he contends that the bill is a bad idea.” Yes, having the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers decreased is a benefit. My concern however, does not regard on people who are looking to be able to drive to work to support their families. My concern is focused more on the possible national security threat that the statute poses, and furthermore what this means to our already broken down immigration policy.” Moreno argued.
Presently the DLPCs are open Mon. thru Fri and till further notice Saturdays from 8 a.m till 5 p.m. Documents required to apply for a license include, foreign birth certificates, foreign passports, foreign consular cards amongst others. Under AB60, commercial drivers’ licenses are not covered and people who have entered the U.S illegally are still barred from acquiring one. The statute has no expiration, so till further notice it remains interminable.