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 www.SCPR.org, 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 www.dmv.ca.org). 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.