Colo. DMV forced to cut drivers license services to undocumented immigrants

Photo: Colorado drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants
In this 2014 file photo, a Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles worker in Denver processes a drivers license application for an immigrant, left

Due to a funding freeze imposed by lawmakers on the Joint Budget Committee, Colorado’s Department of Motor Vehicles says it can’t accept any more appointments this year from undocumented immigrants seeking driver’s licenses.

The program receives no state taxes and is operated through the fees immigrants pay for their licenses, driving permits, and identification cards. Democratic lawmakers set up the driver’s license program two years ago.

The state Department of Revenue, which oversees the program, asked budget writers for permission to access $166,265 in fees that have already been collected to increase staffing.

Republicans who control the Senate for the first time in 10 years used their newfound power on the Joint Budget Committee to reject the request.

With its funding cut to a trickle, the DMV says it will only be able offer the licenses at the Denver Central office, starting next month. Previously, five offices around the state handled the appointments.

Undocumented immigrants who already have license appointments will have them rescheduled. The DMV says those who aren’t in the system already will have to wait until next January to try to get an appointment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.