The design of the California driver’s licenses that are to be issued to undocumented immigrants needs a makeover, federal officials say.
Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security rejected the design the Golden State proposed for the new driver’s licenses saying they do not make it clear enough that they belong to persons with no legal status.
Currently, those driver’s licenses are not much different from other California licenses except for a small mark on the front and a disclaimer on the back that reads “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes.”
Federal officials, however, want more than that.
In a letter to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), homeland security officials said those driver’s licenses need to have the disclaimer in the front and they also need to have “a unique design or color.”
Immigrant rights activists oppose the idea of the new design because they say it could lead to discrimination.
“Covering the fronts of licenses with this information that Homeland Security is demanding would subject the holders to unnecessary discrimination and possible harassment,” Senator Kevin De Leon told the Los Angeles Times.
Several online petitions have been created asking the Department of Homeland Security to accept the licenses as they are.
For now, the California DMV has gone back to work in creating a new design.
“The DMV will continue to work vigorously with lawmakers, affected communities and federal officials to design a license that complies with federal law and allows over a million undocumented California residents to drive legally and safely on state roads,” said Armando Botello, DMV spokesman in a statement.
Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that would give undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses by January 1, 2015.
The delay in the design does not mean undocumented immigrants will not get their licenses.
Botello said the department is working on the new design and that they hope to meet Governor Brown’s deadline.