Colorado Joins Parade of States Granting Driver’s Licenses to the Undocumented

It's been a big year for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.

By Julianne Hing Jun 06, 2013

On Wednesday Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper made Colorado the eighth state in the nation to extend driver’s license eligibility to undocumented immigrants, Reuters reported.

Colorado’s law requires that applicants show identification from their home country, proof of residence in Colorado and a state income tax return, and they must be renewed every three years.

Driver’s licenses for the undocumented are a heated issue–as is just about any kind of right undocumented immigrants could have–but lawmakers have increasingly observed that it’s not even so much an issue of immigrant rights as it is primarily one of public safety. Immigrant rights advocates in New Mexico have defended their state’s driver’s license law by showing that extending driver’s license access decreases the number of uninsured drivers on the road, and increases the likelihood that people report accidents, pay fines and speak to authorities.

It’s been a big year for undocumented immigrants and driver’s licenses. Just last week the Connecticut state Senate passed its own driver’s license bill, which Gov. Daniel Malloy has pledged to sign. In recent weeks Oregon and Nevada passed their own laws, as well. 

The Colorado law will go into effect on August 1, 2014.