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State's Hispanic communities welcome driver privilege cards for undocumented immigrants

Delaware Public Media

Later this year, Delaware will become the 12th state in the U.S. to offer driver privilege cards to undocumented immigrants. Although the new state law creating them won’t go into effect for another six months, state Hispanic leaders say their communities were thrilled to hear the news.


The community is so grateful, and finally they start to see the relief," said Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, co-chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission, who’s advocated for passage of this law for years.


The bill passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jack Markell on the final day of this year's portion of the General Assembly session culminated more than two years of work at the state level, including a task force issuing recommendations in late 2014.

Moving the legislation forward from an idea to a law was a political lesson for Delaware’s growing Hispanic community.


"So it’s an education for our community. It takes a process, it does take time, and there’s many things to consider," said Javier Torrijos, also a co-chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission.

Those applying for a driver privilege card will need to show that they’ve filed taxes in Delaware for the past two years, submit to a background check and get fingerprinted.

11 other states, including Maryland, allow undocumented immigrants to have legal driving privileges.

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