DENVER (CBS4)– A new kind of driver’s license for non-citizens will soon be available but even before the Department of Motor Vehicles can issue them, advance requests are clogging up the system.
Tens of thousands of drivers in Colorado are calling the DMV to register for the new ID which is clogging the system.
Those licenses are the result of a law passed last year that aims to improve public safety by making sure every driver in Colorado, regardless of their legal status, has a license.
The law doesn’t take effect until Aug. 1 but the DMV began making appointments on Tuesday for applicants. In the first day they scheduled 823 appointments, by phone and online; that’s more than 100 per hour. Thousands of others were not able to get through.
“I try and try and try,” said America Carbajalo, a driver who tried to call to make an appointment for applying for the new non-citizen licenses.
Those without a Social Security number, including illegal immigrants, are eligible for driver’s licenses or identification cars if they can prove they live in Colorado, have been paying taxes and have applied for citizenship.
In order to comply with federal law, the cards are marked “Not Valid For Federal Identification, Voting or Public Benefit Purposes.”
“I think they didn’t understand how important this is to the immigrant community, didn’t anticipate people chomping at the bit to get driver’s licenses and do things the right way,” said Gabriela Flora, who helped get the law passed.
She said the DMV expected 45,000 applicants the first y ear but it will likely be double that.
Carbajalo, a native of Mexico, has been waiting 16 years to drive her granddaughter and isn’t about to give up.
“I try everyday. I need an appointment. I need my license,” said Carbajalo.