The rollout of special driver's licenses for illegal immigrants has been delayed in some states by high demand and the need to redesign the documents to better distinguish them from ordinary licenses, The Wall Street Journal
Starting Friday, illegal immigrants can drive in Colorado. The website of the motor vehicles office that schedules appointments for the licenses had to be repeatedly taken down because of overwhelming demand.
Immigration advocates in Colorado have complained that only five of 37 motor vehicle offices are geared up to process the special documents.
"Some people are frustrated because they don't understand why the state government would want them to drive without a license over highways and mountain passes, essentially endangering themselves and other people if there were an accident," Nicole Mosher, executive director of the advocacy group Companeros, told the Journal.
Colorado state officials have responded that the program is supposed to be self-funded and that opening more offices would raise the cost of the permits, the Journal reported.
In Illinois, where the illegal immigration population is about 500,000
, the wait for so-called visitor licenses is three months, the Journal reported.
In California, where there are an estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, officials will start processing license requests in January. Federal authorities, adhering to the Real ID Act, vetoed the state's initial design because it looked too much like an ordinary driver's license, the Journal reported.
The document must be easily distinguished from a standard license to meet federal law so the special licenses are not used as IDs to board commercial airliners.
All told, 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to enable undocumented aliens to obtain special permits to drive, the Journal said. Those who support the special licenses say it will make the roads safer.
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