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Lawmakers in California's Latino Caucus are pressuring the Department of Motor Vehicles to speed up its process for issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Assembly Bill 60, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year, allows immigrants who are in the United States illegally to obtain a California driver's license. It calls for the new licenses to be available by Jan. 1, 2015, or "an earlier date as determined by the Director of the DMV," says a statement the California Latino Legislative Caucus sent to the media today.

"In light of the urgent need for driver's licenses, we respectfully request that you expedite the development of regulations and commence accepting applications for licenses as soon as possible," says the letter from the Latino Caucus to Jean Shiomoto, DMV director.

"We understand that a program of this magnitude presents technical and staffing challenges as more than one million new individuals will be eligible for drivers's licenses. Nevertheless, with the support of community groups and local government s across the state we have full confidence that the Department of Motor Vehicles will be able to accelerate the process by several months," says the letter signed by Latino Caucus chairman Sen. Ricardo Lara and the two dozen state senators and assembly members who make up the group.

The 2014-15 budget proposal Brown released Thursday allocates $64.7 million for the DMV to set up the immigrant driver's license program, including costs for staff and temporary field offices.

PHOTO: The DMV office on La Mancha Way in Sacramento, shown in June 2007. The Sacramento Bee/ Randall Benton



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