As of August 1, undocumented immigrants are eligible to obtain driver’s licenses under a new law passed by the State Legislature in 2013. The passage of this law was seen as exciting progress for the more than 150,000 undocumented people in Colorado who might be eligible to obtain licenses.
Unfortunately, many people, especially in certain areas – like Eagle County – might not be getting driver’s licenses anytime soon. Issues with implementation of the new law are making it difficult for potential applicants to sign up.
The first problem is that only five locations of the state’s 56 licensing centers will be issuing the cards, and each requires applicants to schedule an appointment before coming in. The five locations in Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Grand Junction leave many communities throughout the state underserved. For Eagle County residents, Grand Junction is the closest option and is at least 1.5 hours away. The result is that driving time alone might be prohibitive for someone without a license.
Next on the list of issues is the lengthy wait for an appointment. It is not currently possible to schedule an appointment at the Grand Junction location, as all available appointments have been booked for the foreseeable future. Many predict that potential applicants could be waiting years for an appointment.
This is a critically important bill, both for the thousands of people in need of licenses and also to ensure road safety; hopefully the legislature will figure out a way to address its rocky rollout.
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