NEW UPDATE – Preparing for Drivers’ Licenses Issued to Undocumented Drivers

Just yesterday, the Public Comment period expired on the DMV’s proposed regulations for the new California Licenses that will be issued to undocumented drivers starting in January of 2015 under AB 60.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS Immigration Officials) rejected the proposed design because they claimed that the licenses for people without legal immigration status in the U.S. were not distinguishable enough from those issued to drivers with citizenship or permanent residence in the U.S. in violation of the REAL ID Act (See, June 9th, 2014 by Josie Huang).  Supporters of the DMV’s current license design claim that adding more distinguishing features could lead to harassment and discrimination for undocumented drivers.

Aside from the ongoing changes that could be made to the design, the DMV has released lists of documents that will be acceptable for people to submit and apply under the new regulations.  For example, the Mexican Federal Electoral Card or other foreign consular cards may serve as identification and other alternatives such as official transcripts and biographical documents may be accepted in case no photo I.D. is available.  There will also be a written drivers’ test requirement, and handbooks are on the DMV website in different languages (See  People should be aware that they do not need to pay 3rd parties to obtain this license, and only DMV materials and appointments are necessary to apply.  This process does not involve immigration officials or applications with USCIS.

The licenses do not confer any immigration benefits and do not in themselves give anyone the right to remain in the U.S. without their permanent residence or citizenship status in the U.S.  For that reason, people who are undocumented and will apply for licenses, are advised to meet with our immigration attorneys to determine if there is a way of obtaining a green card or other legal status via a family member, employment, or a self-petition.

Please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth for a free consultation, at: 1-800-500-1102.

NY May Grant Undocumented Immigrants State Citizenship

By Yesenia Acosta, Esq.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that New York lawmakers were considering an immigration bill that would grant state citizenship to undocumented immigrants, allowing some to vote in state elections, run for office, obtain professional licenses, request tuition assistance, and a host of other benefits and responsibilities that come with state citizenship (Josh Eidelson, June 16, 2014).

This type of legislation would set a remarkable precedent for other state governments that have shown frustration with Congress’ unwillingness to pass sweeping immigration reforms.  The legislation proposed by New York would provide benefits to immigrants who can show that they paid taxes and contributed to the state.  Moreover, the state can reap more rewards by fostering educational opportunities and business growth among its citizens.  Of course, the changes would still be subject to federal laws that could prevent some of the applicants from working legally in the U.S.

Lastly, this is only a proposed bill that is likely to face many obstacles before it will be passed and possibly have an impact on future immigration legislation.  Even if this attempt proves unsuccessful, this could signal states’ pressure on Congress to act and maintain control over these issues or risk states taking charge and leading to conflicting legislation.

For undocumented immigrants who are still waiting to obtain a work permit or permanent residence, it is highly recommended that they seek out professional advice from our experienced immigration attorneys.  There is no sense in waiting for comprehensive reforms or state-imposed changes if there is a more secure way to regularize a person’s stay in the U.S.  Aside from family and employment petitions, there are cases for victims of crime (U visas), deferred action for people who arrived as children (DACA), asylum, and others.  Talk to our attorneys today!

If you have any questions about your options in a possible immigration case, please contact our attorneys for a free consultation at:  1-800-500-1102.