Colorado rolls out driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

DENVER Sat Aug 2, 2014 12:37am EDT

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DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado granted driver's licenses to 62 illegal immigrants on Friday, officials said, during the first day of a controversial program that supporters say makes the streets safer and opponents argue rewards criminality.

"These drivers had to pass written and driving tests to receive their license," said Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Another five people were given state-issued identification cards, and 23 others received learner's permits, she said.

Last year, Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed into law the bill that was passed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature, with no Republican support.

The measure's sponsor, state Senator Jessie Ulibarri, said at the time that the law would make the state's roads safer by requiring driving tests and insurance coverage for motorists. Law enforcement groups in the state supported the law, he added.

There were no long lines or a rush to motor vehicle offices on Friday because applicants had to make appointments beforehand to complete the process, said revenue department spokeswoman Daria Serna.

Seven applicants who signed up for the program did not keep their appointments on Friday, and 58 others were denied licenses or learner's permits for unspecified reasons, she said.

The license states on its face that it cannot be used as identification allowing the holder to vote, as a form of federal identification, nor to apply for government benefits.

Republican critics argued the law would only encourage more illegal immigration into the state, primarily from Central America. Colorado has a Hispanic population of about 21 percent.

Under the law, applicants must show they live in Colorado, have filed a state income tax return, and provide proof of their identity from their country of origin.

Additionally, they must swear an affidavit saying that they already have, or will, apply for citizenship.

Colorado is among 10 states that have passed laws allowing unauthorized immigrants to acquire driver's licenses or permits, although not all have implemented the policy.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Ken Wills)

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Comments (4)
vic632 wrote:
Doped up illegals running loose with faux drivers licenses. A sad state of affairs. Thanks, Democrats.

Aug 02, 2014 10:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Robert76 wrote:
When I was stationed in Germany, I held my driver’s license from my home state, a military driver’s license, and an International Driver’s License.

I see no problem with people from other countries having some sort of driver’s license in this country as it would force them to learn our countries traffic and safety laws, and to obtain vehicle insurance. This is a positive – not a negative.

That being said, the license should not be visually identical to one for citizens. As long as that is the case, I believe every state should institute some sort of “International Driver’s License” for use by Non-Citizens who can and do drive here.

Aug 02, 2014 1:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
WildBillWB wrote:
Sounds like it’s time for another recall vote, Colorado.

Aug 02, 2014 2:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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