Starting this week, people who are living in Colorado illegally can start making appointments to get a state-issued driver's license.
This comes after a Senate bill was passed in Colorado allowing undocumented immigrants or those living here temporarily to get state driver's licenses.
The licenses will look similar to regular Colorado licenses, but there will be one significant difference: a black banner that says it is not valid for federal identification, voting or public benefit purposes.
Supporters of the bill have said it may help encourage illegal immigrants to buy insurance while they are driving, now that they are able to do legally. Opponents argue that the bill may make Colorado more attractive to people who want to move in illegally.
To get one of these licenses, applicants will have to pass a driver's test; have proof of their name, birthday and current address; and an individual taxpayer identification number. Applicants will also need to be able to provide a signed affidavit stating that they have or will be applying for a visa or full citizenship.
11 News spoke with an immigration advocate, who says this is an important step towards immigration reform, and is a much-needed resource for many people who are in the process of becoming citizens.
So far, the demand for these licenses has been high. The state Department of Revenue says their website had 60,000 hits in less than an hour. Only five DMVs in the entire state can issue these licenses. One of them is in Colorado Springs, and it is by appointment only.
The licenses will be available beginning August 1. Currently, New Mexico, Washington and Illinois have a similar law in place.
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