Calif. DMV Hires 900 New Employees to Serve Undocumented Immigrants

By Julissa Catalan

A new California law (AB60) permitting undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license despite not having proper legal status is set to take effect on Jan. 1.

In an effort to prepare for the estimated 1.4 million immigrants that will become eligible to receive a license, California’s DMV is bringing 900 new employees on board to help facilitate the recent surge within the immigrant population.

According to DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez, the agency has already hired more than 400 new employees and will bring on another 500 before Jan. 1.

“It’s a huge undertaking and we’ve really been working on this since Gov. Brown signed the bill in October 2013,” Gonzalez said.

AB 60 makes California the ninth statealong with Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and Nevadato put this type of law in place.

While somecritics see this law as rewarding illegal immigrantswith rights that only legal citizens should have, the main objective of this law is actually to ensure public safety.

According to Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, it is important for all drivers to understand and follow the same safety regulations.The law recognizes that California as a whole will be a safer state if immigrants who are currently driving illegally are properly taught how to operate a car as well as how to follow the laws of the road according to the state they live in.

Providing licenses to undocumented drivers is also expected to lessen hit-and-run cases in California, as many undocumented drivers flee the scene of an accident for fear of deportation.

The DMV is setting up four temporary locationsGranada Hills, Lompac, San Jose and Stantonwhich are scheduled to be open for three years.

Depending on demand, the leases on the locations may be extended. More employees could also be hired if necessary, as the governor’s funding allows for up to 1,000 new positions.

All employees will be mandated to take diversity training to be adequately prepared.

“There could be a language barrier,”Gonzalez said. “There could be religious issues. And to know how to handle that without immediately saying ‘no’ because it’s not in your everyday norm.”

Service Employees International Union Local 1000the union that represents most of the DMV’s workers, is said to be in full support of this plan.

“For us, it’s more of a social justice thing,” said, Union Statewide Coordinator Ted Burnett.

He says his concern is that undocumented applicants will not be ready to pass the driving examas was the case in Nevada last year when a similar law was passed and 90 percent of prospective drivers failed the test.

To prevent this from happening in California, prep classes are being offered at community colleges throughout the state.

“The DMV is opening up a lot of classes with immigrants to talk about what’s on the tests, give them practice tests and take away the intimidation factor,” Burnett said.

The final design of the new license was approved by the Department of Homeland Security just last week. The objective was to ensure the clear difference between a citizen’s license versus one for an undocumented driver so that it could not be used for federal purposes.

According to Gonzalez, the DMV “feels the AB 60 license design satisfies the requirement so for us we are moving forward with this design.”

Prior to Jan. 1, the DMV is to finalize document requirements for immigrant applicants. So far the department has held four hearings on this topic, and is planning to release a list of acceptable documents for public review before it is submitted to the state Office of Administrative Law for approval.

Public schools across the United States also began to prepare for the recent wave of immigrant students earlier this year. Many of the programs provided diversity training to teachers over the summer so that they were equip to teach new undocumented students by this school year.

Latest News

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…

AbbVie Joins Over 400 Leading US Employers in the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’

Originally published on LinkedIn. AbbVie ranked No. 19 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   AbbVie has joined a group of over 400 corporations and leading U.S. employers to support the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act,” an initiative advocating for federal…

Accenture and Goodwill Develop Virtual Experience To Help People Impacted by the Criminal Justice System Enter the Workforce

Originally published at Accenture is ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Goodwill Industries International has teamed with Accenture to develop an innovative virtual experience called Project Overcome. The experience is designed for people impacted by the criminal justice system who want to…