DMV offices in Alamosa, Fort Morgan offer licenses to undocumented immigrants

By: - July 1, 2020 4:59 pm

Traffic flows over the American Legion Bridge along I-495, the Capitol Beltway, on the day before the Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 22, 2006, between Virginia and Maryland. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Two additional Division of Motor Vehicles offices — in Alamosa and Fort Morgan — were set to begin granting driver’s licenses to undocumented Colorado immigrants July 1.

“These offices will facilitate licensing for rural workers and community members without having to travel long distances to appointments and missing days of work,” I Drive Colorado campaign manager Siena Mann said in a July 1 statement from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.

The first state law allowing undocumented immigrants, and those with temporary legal status, to receive driver’s licenses, permits and identification passed in 2013. While the licenses don’t provide legal status (which only the federal government can grant), they allow immigrants to drive legally, purchase car insurance and register a vehicle under their name.

As of July 1, 11 DMV offices (including the new additions in Alamosa and Fort Morgan) were offering the service, CIRC’s statement said.

The Lakewood Westgate, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Lamar, Montrose, Pueblo and Durango driver’s license offices will continue to participate.

The program was expanded through 2019 legislation after residents in rural areas of the state advocated for more locations.

“We are already in a small town that is far from a lot of services,” Evely Valenzuela, with Yuma youth leadership organization ESTRELLAS, said in CIRC’s statement.

“If you live in Julesburg and have to go to Grand Junction for your appointment you may have to miss work the day before your appointment to drive there and then have the appointment and make the trip home,” she added.

Regardless of immigration status, Coloradans currently must schedule an appointment before visiting a DMV office for any reason, the DMV noted in a separate statement.

“By expanding the number of offices offering these services, more Coloradans will be sufficiently trained to operate a vehicle on roads and highways throughout the Centennial State and will be able to obtain insurance,” the statement said. “This will make driving safer for all Coloradans.”

To learn more about the program, see this online guide or contact the DMV’s nonprofit partners.

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Faith Miller
Faith Miller

Faith Miller was a reporter with Colorado Newsline covering the Colorado Legislature, immigration and other stories.