Having a drivers license opens up a road of possibilities.
“To get to a hospital, to a doctors appointment. To go and buy healthy food, to find housing, to find a job, even”, says Cristian Solana-Cordova a member of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
For 18,700 Coloradans protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs, getting a drivers license wasn’t an option after August of 2014.
This new state bill, SB18-108, which has currently passed the senate, aims to allow protected immigrants to use their social security numbers to qualify for a drivers license, rather than an Individual Tax Identification Number, which aren’t offered for immigrants under these protected services.
“This will allow for DACA and TPS holders to continue to have access to a license even if those programs have ended and they’ve become undocumented”, says Celeste Martinez the Bilingual Organizer for Together Colorado.
This new bill, also passed with sweeping bipartisan support.
“Incredible bipartisan support, 25 to 10. There’s actually a series of senators on the Western Slope who voted in support”, says Martinez.
Instead of having to wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the process can be made much simpler over the phone or online.
“I think most people take for granted the fact that they are able to drive and get around easily, but they don’t realize how crucial this is for everyday life”, says Solana-Cordova.
The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition tells us this bill could hold a lot of immigrant families in jeopardy when it comes to their day-to-day responsibilities, but they’re also pleased to see the bill has such strong bipartisan support.
The vote takes place on April 4th, we’ll keep you updated on if the bill passes.