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DMV in hiring spree to prep for immigrant driver's licenses

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - California's immigrants in the country illegally will soon have the right to pursue a driver's license under a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

AB60 takes effect in January, and the the Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that 1.5 million people will take advantage of the new privilege.

The agency has gone on a hiring spree over the last several months in advance of the anticipated rush. Spokesman Armando Botello said that by the first of the year, the DMV will have hired close to 1,000 employees - an 11 percent increase from the current workforce.

The hires took place all over the state, but many of the new workers will be stationed at four hubs - mega offices in San Jose, Lompoc, Stanton and Grenada Hills - that Botello said will only serve residents seeking their first driver's license, whether they be candidates under AB60 or otherwise.

The new offices and personnel come with a price tag of about $67 million. Botello said the state expects to offset some of this cost with the fees collected from all the new drivers.

The process for an undocumented person to apply for a license will be basically the same as it is for a citizen, Botello said. They will have to provide documents that verify their identity and residency. However, it has not been determined what the qualifying documents will be.

"There are some documents that are in an unofficial list, and it includes matriculas from the Mexican consulate, from other consulates, from different nations, the passport, if they are still active," Botello said.

The licenses issued to immigrants will have two distinct differences.

"In the front of the license it would say 'federal limits apply,' and on the back of the license it would say 'not acceptable for federal purposes,'" Botello said.

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