DMV begins hearings on undocumented immigrant driver's licenses (updated)

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Update 6:15 p.m. More than 250 people from across southern California showed up in downtown Los Angeles for a hearing on a new program allowing immigrants here illegally to apply for licenses. Many of the 65 people who testified on the proposed guidelines were immigrants such as Isabel Medina.  

"Driver’s license not only allows me to drive without any fear but also allows me to contribute more to this great nation," Medina said. 

But Medina says proving her identity to the DMV by getting a passport – one option – will be hard because it’ll set her back about $120.

She asked the DMV to consider the school-issued ID she uses when she volunteers in her kids’ classes. Others suggested the DMV accept ID verification from a church or a workers’ center. 

But about a dozen people who testified took issue with giving licenses to these drivers in the first place. Denise Aliberti said the documents the DMV is already willing to accept, such as consular ID’s, are open to counterfeiting.

"Illegals know our system and will abuse it every chance they can get," Aliberti said. 

Brian Soublet, a DMV attorney, repeatedly reminded detractors the law creating the program had passed and that the hearing was about how to carry it out.  Afterward, he said he had heard some good ideas. 

"I was nodding my head because there were some things we didn’t think of like church documents, school records for moms," Soublet said. 

The DMV will hold a second hearing in Oakland on Thursday, and plans to issue final regulations by fall. 

2:11 p.m.: A California Department of Motor Vehicles hearing is underway in Los Angeles to take public comment on proposed rules by which immigrants in the country illegally may obtain driver's licenses.

About 100 people are attending Tuesday's hearing looking into issues such as what types of documentation will be required for an application.

Speakers have urged the DMV to consider providing translators for non-English-speaking applicants and coordinating with consulates to ensure that immigrants who live outside major cities can obtain documents.

One speaker expressed concern about security risks of using a document like a Mexican consular card to verify identity.

The state expects 1.4 million people to apply in the first three years.

Earlier: California officials are holding a hearing on what immigrants in the country illegally will need to apply for driver's license starting next year.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will take public comment Tuesday in Los Angeles on the documents required to prove identity and state residency for the new licenses. You can watch that hearing below.

A second hearing was planned for Thursday in Oakland.

Assembly Bill 60, which passed last year, requires the department to issue a driver's license to applicants even if they can't provide proof of legal presence in the U.S., so long as they meet all other qualifications for driving. They also must provide proof of California residency.

Immigrant advocates say they want to ensure applicants' personal information won't be shared with federal immigration agents. The immigrants say they are worried the license will look different after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the document should state on its face that it isn't for official federal purposes.

RELATED: Feds reject design of Calif. driver's licenses for immigrants living illegally in the state

The National Immigration Law Center says 11 states have approved issuing a driver's license or card to immigrants in the country illegally.

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