Planning on heading to the DMV today? Might want to consider how crazy busy they’re going to be to start the new year.
The Department of Motor Vehicles expects large crowds on Friday as undocumented immigrants in California will look to take advantage of a new law that will allow them to obtain a driver’s license for the first time.
It’s called the Safe and Responsible Driver Act, AB60, and it allows any eligible California resident to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, beginning January 1, 2015.
Because there is expected to be a huge rush on the first day (More than 10,000 have made appointments for January 2), the DMV has added 4 new state offices and hired 1,000 new workers to meet the initial demand. As a testament to the high demand, this photo via NBC4’s Vanessa Ruiz shows lines already wrapping around the building at 6:30am on Friday in one of the new offices opened up in Stanton.
Line around the building at new DMV in Stanton, AB60 kicks off today. Controversial law gives DL 2 undoc. immigrants. pic.twitter.com/Xw52jmQKei
— Vanessa Ruiz (@VanessaNBCLA) January 2, 2015
Requirements to apply for a license you need proof of identify, proof of California residency, submitting to a thumbprint, taking a vision test, and passing a written and behind the wheel test. Once residency is proven, eligible applicants can complete the forms, pay a fee, and take the required tests.
“DMV is committed to successfully implementing this new law to increase safety on California roads by putting licensed drivers behind the steering wheel,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Californians planning to apply for a new driver license under AB 60 should study for their exams and gather the required documents for proving identity and residency.”
The DMV expects nearly 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply for licenses over the next few year. Seth Ronquillo of Asian Americans Advancing Justice says more than 400,000 Asian-American undocumented could be eligible for the program per NBC Los Angeles.
Critics of the new law will argue that providing driver’s licenses to people who are in the U.S. illegally essentially just rewards them for breaking the law, but advocates, like Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella consider this a huge leap forward.
Garcia, via the Desert Sun:
“It’s exciting, certainly historic and a great thing for California. Having properly trained, tested, licensed and insured drivers on our roads is not only important, it’s a priority.”