DENVER (CBS4) – The state of Colorado is scrambling to get regular driver’s licenses back from immigrants who received them by mistake. It’s the latest controversy in Colorado’s new “non-citizen license” program that launched last month, and CBS4 spoke with one woman who doesn’t want to give hers back.
Supporters of the new non-citizens license argued it would keep Colorado roads safer by making sure every driver has a license regardless of legal status. In order for it to work that means legal immigrants have to carry the same marked driver’s license as illegal immigrants.
One woman CBS4’s Karen Morfitt spoke with says despite the law having passed last year, she didn’t know it until the vendor made the printing error.
The woman is a legal immigrant who has been in Colorado on visa for school and work for more than 5 years, but still she asked CBS4 not to show her identity. She’s one of more than 500 who received a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles and the vendor who mistakenly printed and sent out regular licenses to non-citizens.
“I read it and I thought it was a scam, because who would want your ID to be sent to them in an enclosed mail envelope?” the woman said.
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It wasn’t a scam. She went to the DMV in July to renew her license like she has every year — not knowing that under Colorado’s new law, and despite being entirely legal, she would now have to carry one of the marked licenses. She says she doesn’t agree with that.
“I don’t question illegal immigrants, why they are here, how they are here. That’s not my responsibility, that’s not my business,” she said. “However, when I’m legal, when I’m doing everything right, in the right way, correctly, why am I being put in that situation?”
Because of a printing error she now has the ID she expected and wants, but the DMV and the private company want it back. She says she wants to be heard first.
“I don’t want to give mine up. I don’t want to be in the same bucket as illegal immigrants.”
The bottom line is it’s the law, according to the DMV.
Even legal immigrants will have to give the misprinted licenses back, and as of Aug. 1 they will have to carry the marked licenses.