New CA Driver's License Program Flooded with Immigrant Applications

In October of 2013, Assembly Bill 60 was signed into law and poised to create a program in which undocumented California residents could apply for and receive a valid driver’s license. Before the program began earlier this year, officials predicted that they would receive 500,000 applications by July 2015. Now, months away from that July milestone, those numbers have already been exceeded and the DMV is struggling to keep up with the huge number of applications.

As the Sacramento Business Journal reports , the 500,000 mark was exceeded at the end of March 2015 and shows no sign of slowing down. In response, the DMV has hired and additional 900 employees, opened new processing centers, and even extended hours to deal with the surge of applications.

"We expected a tsunami in the beginning, but were surprised it got that high that quickly," DMV spokesman Jaime Garza told the Sacramento Business Journal. "This is a very popular program."

The program was put in place help improve the driving community in California. By allowing those without a Social Security number to apply for and receive licenses, it allows for more trained and insured drivers on the road. Of the approximate 500,000 applicants, roughly 207,000 have been already been issued licenses.

A Strong Showing of Community

If the large amount of license applications prove anything to officials, it is that there is a large portion of California immigrant population that wants to comply with local laws, work for the privilege to drive legally, and be productive and contributing members of our communities. As Jaime Garza points out, many applicants have taken the required forms and tests seriously. "The majority of the population have presented the paperwork they need to get a driver’s license," he told the press.

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