Advocacy group: Driver privilege cards for undocumented immigrants see rocky roll-out

Advocacy group: Driver privilege cards for undocumented immigrants see rocky roll-out
The credential is for those who cannot meet Virginia’s legal presence requirements (Source: Virginia DMV)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The rollout of driver privilege cards for undocumented immigrants is facing some challenges.

The cards became available as part of a new law in effect on January 1, after a years-long push for Virginia to extend undocumented immigrants the right to drive.

Edgar Lara with immigrant advocacy group Sin Barreras says that, so far, applicants have seen uneven results when going to get their card, due to wait times with tax record verification.

“We had hoped, and we expected, for that verification to happen in minutes,” Lara said. “I think in some offices in different parts of the state, it has happened that way. Here in Charlottesville, it has not. It seems like it’s a manual process.”

Lara says applicants are then asked to make a follow-up appointment to allow the verification process time to complete. He says that Sin Barreras is committed to making sure the process improves – and hopes further legislation will do that, and strengthen privacy protections in the law.

To apply for a driver privilege card, immigrants must provide two proofs of identification, two proofs of Virginia residence, taxpayer identification or social security number, and proof that they have filed Virginia income taxes in the past 12 months. Then, applicants must also complete and pass the same driving tests that citizens and documented immigrants have to take.

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