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Legislative Testimony, Research, and Related Issues
"The ACLU of Maryland supports HB 789, which would create a limited-use driver’s license. Limited-use driver’s licenses would help ensure that more Marylanders have access to the basic necessities of daily life, would improve public safety and security, and would be consistent with the standards set forth in the federal REAL ID Act of 2005." (ACLU of Maryland*)
"The ACLU of Maryland strongly supports this much-needed proposal to expand Maryland residents’ access to a license to drive. Without a license to drive, individuals cannot perform the most essential daily functions and activities, such as taking their children to school, going to medical visits, grocery shopping, keeping medical appointments, or going to and from their places of employment. In addition, expanding access to licenses to drive is critical for highway safety." (ACLU of Maryland*)
"First, we discuss the policy benefits of granting undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses. Second, we discuss the Legislature’s legal authority to expand access to licenses. Third, we discuss the successes other states have had in making driver’s licenses more widely available, including the documentation policies they have used to issue secure, verifiable licenses. Fourth, we briefly discuss additional implementation issues." (Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, Yale Law School; Counsel for Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT*)
"The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital supports the right of undocumented immigrants to enjoy the protections and freedoms provided by the U.S. Constitution. Bill 20-275 creates the opportunity for undocumented DC residents to obtain driver’s licenses, but Section 8c(d) would make those licenses distinguishable from the driver’s licenses issued to DC citizen residents. Distinguishable driver’s licenses establish a lower-tier ID for undocumented immigrants, rendering them vulnerable to discrimination and harassment by businesses, landlords, security guards, police officers, and other government agents." (ACLU of the Nation’s Capital*)
"Previous studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have found that approximately one in five fatal crashes involved an unlicensed or invalidly licensed driver. This study presents new data on unlicensed and invalidly licensed drivers in fatal crashes over years 2007–2009, and examines trends in crashes involving unlicensed or invalidly licensed drivers from 1990 through 2009." (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington DC, Nov. 2011)
"In the State of Illinois, licensing undocumented motorists would conserve resources, increase road safety, and create additional revenue in fees. This brief suggests policy options that would provide a legal means for undocumented immigrants to drive to work and, consequently, increase both road safety and State revenues." (Diana M. Guelespe & Ruth Gomberg-Munoz, 2012*)
This California Dept. of Motor Vehicles report concludes that drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked and unlicensed drivers “are much more hazardous on the road than are validly licensed drivers. Compared to licensed drivers, those who drive without a valid license are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash relative to their exposure.” (Sukhvir S. Brar, Research and Development Branch, Licensing Operations Division, Calif. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Sept. 2012)
This news release says: "In a new study, Uninsured Motorists, 2011 Edition, IRC estimates the percentage of uninsured drivers countrywide and in individual states for 2008 and 2009. The IRC estimates are based on the ratio of uninsured motorist (UM) insurance claim frequency to bodily injury (BI) claim frequency." An attached map and table show the percent of uninsured motorists by state in 2009, according to the Insurance Research Council's estimates. (Insurance Research Council news release, Apr. 21, 2011)
Details the benefits to individuals and communities of providing access to driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants. The report explains that communities suffer when driving restrictions prevent their residents from participating fully in economic and social life. It also examines how expanding access to driver’s licenses contributes to public safety, while failing to offer licenses contributes to a hostile environment with long-term negative effects on communities. It notes that the REAL ID Act does not prevent states from issuing licenses to eligible drivers, regardless of their immigration status. (Sarah E. Hendricks, Ph.D, Immigration Policy Center, Apr. 24, 2014)
Study of the impact of Oregon’s law imposing immigration restrictions on driver’s licenses. From the report's abstract: "Interviews with nearly 400 Spanish-speaking Oregon residents, conducted in the Summer of 2009, indicate distress and uncertainty in the Latino community, fear of deportation arising from a traffic stop, a significant number of people driving without a license and adjustments within households that reduce access to employment, education, medical and social services, church attendance and recreation. The full range and magnitudes of impacts cannot be known with certainty until SB 1080 is fully implemented in 2016, and the economy has recovered...." (Mary C. King, et al., prepared for the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, June 2011)
Using data gathered from a statewide hotline, this study calculated economic and social costs of law enforcement involvement in immigration enforcement, including lost wages, lost jobs, and changing work habits. Seventy-five percent of the hotline sample was reported to ICE following a driving related incident, including speeding, failure to use a turn signal, broken taillights and not having a valid Colorado driver’s license. The study demonstrates the centrality of driving offenses in the involvement of law enforcement in immigration enforcement and provides a model for calculating the costs of the involvement. (Colorado Fiscal Institute, Mar. 26, 2013)
This study does not specifically deal with driver’s licenses or other driving-related offenses; however, it provides a useful model for calculating the costs for a state or locality of arresting, reporting and detaining possible undocumented immigrants charged with low level crimes. As indicated by the subsequent Colorado Fiscal Institute report, driving offenses, including driving without a valid Colorado driver's licenses, constitute the bulk of the offenses leading to immigration enforcement. (Colorado Fiscal Institute, Dec. 1, 2012)
* This organization gave NILC permission to upload this item to NILC’s website.