Colorado begins issuing licenses to immigrants

DENVER - Colorado began issuing driver's licenses and identification cards on Friday to immigrants who are in the country illegally or have temporary legal status.

About 9,500 people signed up for appointments through the next 90 days, with more people getting scheduled every day.

"I've been driving, to be honest," said undocumented immigrant Miguel De La Torre. "I've been afraid every morning that I have to go to work without license to drive to work. Since I am a construction worker, I need to go to different places every morning."

De La Torre told 7NEWS that he's been driving to work for 15 years. He said he has not been in any accidents, but has previously been pulled over.

"Every time I get behind the wheel, I said, 'I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I be afraid?'" said De La Torre

"You've been afraid?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"Yes, I've been. Every morning. 15 years," said De La Torre.

The law is expected to receive tremendous scrutiny both from opponents who see it as legitimizing illegal behavior, and supporters who argue it will lead to safer roads and allow law enforcement to correctly identify people in traffic stops and accidents.

"This is a very important day for me because every morning I wake up and drive to work, I'm going to feel confident to do it in the right way," said De La Torre.

The licenses will be available at five locations:

  • Denver Central: 1865 W. Mississippi Ave., #C, Denver, CO 80223
  • Aurora: 14391 E. 4th Ave., Aurora, CO 80011
  • Colorado Springs: 2447 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80909
  • Fort Collins: 3030 S. College Ave., #100, Fort Collins, CO 80525
  • Grand Junction: 222 S. 6th St., #111, Grand Junction, CO 81501

"We're taking them by appointment, so they're not impacting any of the other customers that are here for their services," said Department of Motor Vehicle Executive Director Barbara Brohl.

Colorado was among eight states that passed laws last year allowing identification documents for people in the country illegally. Two of those states, Illinois and Nevada, have already started issuing the documents. California plans to start in January.

 

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