The state Department of Motor Vehicles began accepting applications today for what are known as AB 60 licenses. By noon more than 6,100 applicants had been seen in DMV offices.
Atalia Cervantes was one of them. She’s been living in California permanently for ten years and has had her car impounded twice. Cervantes says she was a bit nervous about applying for a license, but says the DMV reassured her.
"And I’ve been going to a lot of forums on AB 60," she says. "And DMV representatives say they won’t be giving information to ICE or immigrations. And I trust them."
Cervantes passed her test and says having a license will ease the fears she and her daughters have whenever they are driving and see a police officer.
"Every time they look at the cop, they say, ‘Mommy, mommy, there is a cop,'" she says. "And I was, oh my God, oh please God; I don’t want them to stop me for not having a driver license. And we were scared."
The DMV says it hired nearly 1,000 extra workers to handle the AB 60 applicants. It also let appointments be schedule further in advance. It’s expected about 1.4 million immigrants will apply for the licenses over the next three years.