Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
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Rules for immigrant driver's license still being hashed out

We've written in the past concerning efforts to allow undocumented immigrants to have driver's licenses in California. The process has not been completed, however. Officials purportedly are still attempting to apply a balance between making such licenses accessible to immigrants while ensuring that the immigrants can still prove that they are who they claim to be.

We need to remember that the label "undocumented immigrant" is a bit of a misnomer. Many of these individuals already have passports, birth certificates, consular ID cards, etc.

California plans on allocating $67 million next year with regards to these licenses. The state will likely process around 1.4 million applications during the next three years. This will also involve hiring temporary workers to help in the license distribution.

To obtain licenses, immigrants will be required to prove their identity and demonstrate that they reside in California. They will have to also sign an affidavit and pass the same tests as other drivers. These licenses, however, will not be allowed to be used for federal identification.

There are concerns about documents being used to prove identification. Rather than be too lenient concerning documents that will be to prove one's identify, immigrant advocates are asking state officials to be open to the type of documents that may be produced. "Because we are dealing with the undocumented population, we want to make sure we have unconventional ways for people to prove their identity," said a government affairs manager at the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Immigration attorneys can assist in matters such as this. Though not necessarily directly connected to one's employment, not being able to drive will affect an immigrant's employment opportunities. There are a number of other circumstances that may affect the ability to obtain employment as well. Thus immigration attorneys will need to offer a large number of services to help immigrants out.

Source: Contra Costa Times, "California weighs immigrant license requirements," Feb. 1, 2014

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