SILVER LAKE (CBSLA.com) — The crush of undocumented immigrants applying for a new driver’s license has led to longer lines at many DMV offices in California.
A bill allowing licenses went into effect at the start of 2015, overturning a law in 1994 that denied undocumented immigrants the ability to drive. About 40,000 new licenses have been issued in the first month alone.
One of those went to William Garcia, an undocumented resident in Silver Lake, who says the license has secured his livelihood.
The Guatemala native works in Los Angeles as an auto mechanic and, when he didn’t have credentials to drive, picking up his customers’ cars was nerve-wracking.
Now bearing a new license, Garcia told CBS2/KCAL9’s Amy Johnson in Spanish that he feels more secure as a person, more tranquil and more humble. He appreciates knowing the rules of the road.
His friend Luis Balces said: “It’s a better life for him.”
When Johnson asked if Garcia felt proud about his new driving credential, he said: “Not proud, because pride is not good.”
But this new driver said he sure feels happy.
It’s expected that over the next three years, about 1.5 million people in the state will apply for the driver’s licenses.