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A sample of a Colorado driver's license for someone living in the country illegally. (Handout)
A sample of a Colorado driver’s license for someone living in the country illegally. (Handout)

Starting in January, people living in the U.S. illegally will be able to get driver’s licenses at nine locations in Colorado, a dramatic expansion for a program that’s been hobbled since its roll out more than five years ago. 

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday that its offices in Glenwood Springs, Lamar, Montrose, Pueblo and Durango will start offering appointments for the licenses Jan. 2. That’s in addition to DMV locations in Lakewood, Colorado Springs, Aurora and Grand Junction.

The new locations are opening because of a bill passed during this year’s legislative session requiring the DMV to offer the licenses at no fewer than 10 locations by July 2020. 

MORE: Colorado slated to offer immigrant driver’s licenses at 11 offices after governor signs bill expanding program

Two more offices — in Alamosa and Sterling — will begin offering the licenses in the coming summer. 

Colorado’s driver’s license program for people living in the U.S. illegally was initially created by the legislature in 2013 as a way to increase public safety by ensuring drivers are insured and know the rules of the road. But it was dramatically underfunded because state lawmakers underestimated demand. 

The initiative was caught in partisan gridlock for years, leading to a long backlog of people seeking appointments to get the licenses, until the 2019 legislative session.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....