Today, the House Appropriations Committee voted on House Bill 17-1206, passing the bill out of committee and to the House floor. This bill will broaden the forms of identification that can be used by undocumented immigrants to acquire a driver’s license to include social security numbers. In addition, HB 1206 allows these individuals to renew their valid licenses, reducing wait times for those who have already been through the process once and who retain their driving privileges.
Increasing access for driver’s licenses to immigrants, regardless of documentation status, makes Colorado roads and communities safer. Licensed drivers become more knowledgeable about traffic laws, purchase insurance and register their vehicles, all of which can result in greater savings in automobile insurance premiums for all Colorado drivers.
In 2o13, Colorado passed the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act, authorizing the issuance of a Colorado driver’s license, instruction permit or identification card to individuals who either cannot demonstrate lawful presence in the U.S. or can only demonstrate temporary lawful presence in the U.S.
However, the current process is riddled with roadblocks that limit funding and access.
The program requires annual reauthorization of funding and is subject to a cap, increasing wait time and reducing access. Currently, there are only three offices in urban areas of the state that offer appointments for undocumented immigrants and appointments are capped at 66,000 in total; even though there are an estimated 142,000 undocumented immigrants that would use this program.
In addition, the forms of identification that can be used to get a license are also limited. Over the years, many immigrants have received social security numbers. While the immigration status that these individuals are under might have expired or changed, the numbers are still valid. Unfortunately, under the 2013 Colorado Road and Community Safety Act, social security numbers were not included as valid identification, further slowing down the process.
The Colorado Fiscal Institute believes that these HB 1206 includes necessary and useful changes to the existing program. The changes will increase accessibility, allowing communities to reap the economic and social benefits of providing driver’s licenses to all immigrants.
Want to learn more about the benefits of providing driver’s licenses to all immigrants? Check out CFI’s driver’s license report and infographic to learn more about savings in premiums, economic contributions due to driver’s license programs and much more!
|The Impact of Allowing All Immigrants Access to Driver’s Licenses Learn more about the economic benefits (premium savings and additional state revenue)||Impact of Allowing All Immigrants Access to Driver’s Licenses (Infograph)||El Impacto de Permitirle a Todos Los Inmigrantes el Acceso a las Licencias de Conducir (Infograph)|