DMV retracts and renews driver's license for Salvadoran with TPS

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) erroneously denied a Salvadoran man on TPS license renewal three times at two different offices in Los Angeles.

But after my intervention and the help of KMEX Univision in Los Angeles, I can report that Mr. Edenilson Flores Salazar was able to complete the process and in a few weeks he will have his new license.

Edenilson Flores with his attorney Nelson A. Castillo, after obtaining the renewal of his driver's license.
Edenilson Flores with his attorney Nelson A. Castillo, after obtaining the renewal of his driver's license.

After filing a complaint and send a formal letter to the highest management of the DMV denouncing discrimination in cases of drivers with TPS,  I was able to get Mr. Flores' license renewal processed on Thursday, March 12, and he was issued a temporary license while the final license was being sent to him.

This is excellent news, but it is a situation that should never have happened, because Mr. Flores had every right to have his license renewed.

This is not the first time that the California DMV and other states have made this mistake with people who are in the process of re-registering for TPS and are awaiting their new work permits.

In 2010, I reported a similar problem to the California DMV and they said they do their best to keep DMV personnel informed on changes to immigration law so that these kinds of problems do not happen.

Obviously the California DMV is not doing a good job and they need to change their processes or personnel to prevent this from happening again.

Mr. Flores, renewing his license at the Los Angeles DMV.
Mr. Flores, renewing his license at the Los Angeles DMV.

The Citizenship and Immigration Service recognizes that they experience delays in the delivery of new documents due to the high number of re-registrations they must process. For this reason, they authorize the automatic renewal of work permits for a period of 6 more months, during which time they can send the new document.

On their website they detail how, in the case of Salvadorans in the TPS, documents with an expiration date of March 9, 2015, continue to be valid until September 9, 2015.. Therefore, employers and all government agencies must recognize the validity of the document, even if the date appears to have expired.

Employers must ensure that their workers have valid employment permits to avoid fines and problems with the law.  But they must also be aware of changes in immigration laws that affect their workers.

That's what the document on the USCIS website and the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) website of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to employment-related immigration issues.

They can also call the OSC at 1-800-255-8155 to verify the validity of the TPS permit and clarify doubts.

What is inexcusable is that a government agency, such as the DMV, does not adequately train its employees to deal with people with TPS so that they can recognize the validity of the documents presented.

We got a victory for Mr. Flores, but we are still waiting for an apology. And not just for him, but for the many other Salvadorans who are surely going through this inconvenience.

Rest assured that I will continue to fight for the DMV and other agencies to stop discriminating against Salvadorans and other Central Americans who have had problems renewing their licenses.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing the same problem with the DMV, they should have a copy of the Federal Register notification (Federal Register Notice), copy of your TPS renewal application and USCIS receipts. In addition, your work permit with an expiration date of March 9, 2015.

If they refuse to see your documents, or say they are not valid, contact the OSC Helpline at 1-800-255-7688 and your country's consulate. Also, please email me at, so I can compile and monitor cases.

I thank KMEX Univision 34 in Los Angeles for reporting on the case on Tuesday, March 10 and Thursday, March 12, when we were able to get the DMV to authorize the renewal of Mr. Flores' license.

Here you can see the two videos: