More than 11,000 undocumented drivers now have a valid California driver’s license thanks to AB60, according to the latest figures by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants look slightly different than other licenses. On the front they read: “federal limits apply.” On the back they read: “not acceptable for official federal purposes.”
Still, a large number of prospective drivers are not passing the written license test, partly because of the language barrier or not being prepared enough.
The DMV reports that more than 100,000 written or behind-the-wheel exams have been administered since AB60 went into the effect on Jan. 2. The new law requires the DMV to issue a driver license to applicants who can prove identity and California residence, and meet all other licensing requirements such as passing the written and behind-the-wheel driving exams.
To help prepare new applicants for the driver’s license exam, the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) is offering a series of free classes.
During these sessions, teachers will review translated questions for the exam and then administer a practice exam.
Applicants have three chances to pass the written exam. You must answer 30 out of 36 questions right to pass. To get a license, the applicant must also pass a road sign test in English, and a road test.
Some applicants have expressed problems understanding the questions translated into Spanish. CARECEN officials stress that people have to study to guarantee their success.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) offers a three-hour class to help new license seekers pass the written exam on their first try. They have offered the class to more than 250 people since the middle of December, and expect to offer classes to thousands more before the end of summer.
The class costs $55 and is offered in Spanish in a friendly, easy-going atmosphere. Students are given a practice test at the beginning of the class to see where they are, and at the end to evaluate their progress.
The next class offered in the San Fernando Vally is on Saturday, Jan. 24, from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Panorama City Public Library from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The library is located at 14345 Roscoe Blvd., in Panorama City.
The free preparation classes will be offered at CARECEN’s office, at 2845 W. 7th St., in Los Angeles. For more information, call (213) 385-7800.
Dates and times for the classes:
Thursday, Jan. 29, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 5, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 21, 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28, 9:30 a.m.