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Some Doubt Lompoc DMV License Processing Center Will Bring in Local Immigrants

LOMPOC, Calif. - There's new information on a DMV driver's license processing center coming to Lompoc. Some people are doubting just how busy the facility will be, and if undocumented immigrants will even use the service.

C.C. Todd is an outspoken advocate for the local latino community. She's been a long-time supporter of allowing undocumented immigrants to have driver's licenses. Santa Maria has recently ranked high on the list of cities with the most hit-and-runs per capita, and many blame the undocumented immigrant population. Todd believes California's new driver's license law will lower the  number of hit-and-runs and uninsured drivers.

"They don't have to be afraid that they're going to pull me over, what they are going to do," said Todd. "They're going to take my car, they're going to take me to jail, they're going to turn me over to ICE. Those are the questions they always ask."

The law passed last year allows as many as 1.4 million undocumented workers to get special licenses in California. The DMV driver's license processing center will be on North H Street in Lompoc. Workers will begin processing applications for these licenses early next year, but Todd is concerned many undocumented immigrants will be afraid to go get a license.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement building proposed to be built in Santa Maria has generated widespread fear in the local immigrant community. Some feel that this DMV center will do the same thing, and families will be reluctant to give away their personal information for a driver's license.

"Anything that has to do with contact with the government, especially in the area we're in, they're suspicious in nature," said Todd. "This community, the trust has gone downhill and they trust nobody."

Todd says the solution is better communication.

"We've got to start talking and not saying, 'we're going to do this, and this is how it's going to go'," said Todd.

The DMV center in Lompoc is expected to open this fall. California law will allow these specially designed licenses to start going out in January of next year.


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