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Advocates say Immigrant Driver's License Law Too Stringent

June 19, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Hearings get underway next week for AB-60, California's new immigrant driver's license law, but advocates say the way the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) plans to verify an applicant's identity and residency needs to be improved.

A statewide coalition called "Drive CA" says in order to ensure undocumented immigrants become trained, licensed and insured drivers, regulations must be fair and inclusive. Refugio Mata, campaign manager at Presente.org, says this means there must be easy access to document requirements, applicants' privacy must be safeguarded, and there needs to be protection against discrimination.

"Really, we all win by it," says Mata. "We all should be striving to integrate members of our community and for them to come out of the shadows and be part of our experience."

Drive CA says if AB-60 is implemented properly, it will be a significant improvement for road safety and immigrant integration in California.

Mata says the eyes of the nation are on California, so it's important for the state get it right.

"How California applies this driver's license law is going to be something other states look at as they consider how to implement these kinds of laws," says Mata, "or even consider taking up these kinds of regulations."

Final comments on the new immigrant driver's licenses are due to the DMV on Monday, with hearings slated for next Tuesday in Los Angeles and Thursday, June 26th in Oakland.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA