39,000 undocumented workers get driver's licenses

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Feb 05 2015 10:33 AM | Updated as of Feb 05 2015 06:33 PM

LOS ANGELES – About 279,000 undocumented immigrants have applied for a California driver's license in a month.

Under AB60, undocumented immigrants can get a driver's license.

Over 39,000 AB60 licenses have since been issued.

While the new law has been well received, immigrant rights advocates say there had been a few challenges.

"We’ve only had a small number that we’ve heard of that have gotten their actual permits not because they’ve had problems with the written tests but just because of the documents issue," said Aqui Soriano Versoza, executive director of the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC).

The identity documents accepted by the DMV include birth certificates, passports, consular cards, or expired driver's licenses issued after the year 2000.

The PWC said, however, they have seen some applicants sent for a secondary review despite providing the approved documents.

The Philippine Consulate is encouraging applicants to stop by the consulate for help to gather records that would prove their identity.

"We’ve pretty much created a new document called the Affidavit of Undertaking. The person himself would be able to present secondary proof that this is his identity and he resides in California. We put our stamp of approval on it and pretty much validate the document and say that the Philippine government is backing this document as acceptable by other institutions," explained LA Philippine Consul General Leo Hererra-Lim.

The consul general said the process would only take about a day. He believes it’s a better use of time rather than to wait in line again as appointments have filled up in many branches and can take as long as three weeks to make.

"We want people the first time they go, to be able to receive their driver's permit already so they can access a driver's license and not have fear of getting their cars towed or ticketed for not having a license," explained Versoza.

The PWC is continuing to host in-person workshops and group sessions for drivers trying to get their AB60 license.

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