Colorado Joins Other States In Allowing Driver’s Licenses To Immigrants

The State of Colorado has joined ten other states plus the District of Columbia which allow for undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. The measure is likely to permit as many as 150,000 individuals the opportunity to get a valid license in that state. The action flies in the face of those who argue that this practice will unfairly normalize the presence of those who qualify for such licenses. But advocates for the measure insist the law will benefit all citizens by ensuring that, if one of the newly-licensed drivers now gets in to an automobile accident, those injured by the accident will have better means of recourse against the insurance company covering that driver.

This law is viewed as stricter than some other similar laws enacted throughout the country. Applicants must pass a written exam and driving test. Their licenses cost $30 more than regular state driver’s licenses to cover the added processing. Applicants for the special licenses will also need their taxpayer ID numbers, proof of current Colorado residency, identification from their home countries, and either their tax returns from the preceding year or proof of continuous state residency for the last two years. They also must sign affidavits that they have, or will, apply for lawful residency in the United States.

Furthermore, the licenses will be distinguishable them from other regular state driver’s licenses so they cannot be used for such things as voter identification or to board airplanes. Proponents of the law, signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper last summer, say that the measure is mostly one of safety rather than politics. State Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, a Democrat from the racially and culturally mixed northern suburbs of Denver, said Thursday that he sponsored the bill to make sure that those driving on Colorado’s streets and highways have passed the rules of the road and are insured.

By contrast, Roy Beck, head of NumbersUSA, an advocacy group in Washington is seeking to reduce the number of immigrants in the country worries that it will foster what he calls a welcoming climate for illegal immigration. What is not in dispute is that the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colorado will be facing a busy schedule as the newly-entitled drivers are setting up appointments at record numbers to apply for the new licenses.

The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of immigration to the United States. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice.  In the course of Mr. Shulman’s involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating other immigration attorneys about the import of helping intending immigrants to navigate a new cultural system. He meticulously follows all of the developments occurring in the battle over immigration reform so that he will be prepared to effectively assist his clients obtain residency if a new system is enacted.