Right now, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to push the state of California into a downward spiral of discrimination against undocumented immigrant drivers.
The federal government is trying to use the REAL ID federal law to demand that California place a prominently featured stamp on the front of every license issued to undocumented immigrants—effectively singling them out from the rest of Californians.1
Last year, Presente members and allies fought hard against all odds to win the passage of AB 60, an historic state law that would give licenses to 1.4 million undocumented drivers.2
We can beat the odds again. But we need to act quickly if we want to enlist the help of members of Congress. Congress has the ability to push back on DHS and stop them from using more prominent branding than originally stipulated by AB 60 legislation on the front of licenses issued to undocumented immigrants.
California’s AB 60 law granting licenses to undocumented drivers already complies with federal law—our state legislators and Governor worked together in its drafting to strike a careful balance between compliance and ensuring protections against discrimination.
But the Department of Homeland Security wants to erase that balance, pushing the state of California hard into accepting more prominent markings to single out undocumented immigrants from everyone else. This could have disastrous implications and open the door to discrimination when immigrants show their licenses to landlords, grocery store clerks, or anyone else who asks to see it.
All eyes are on California right now, watching how AB 60 is implemented. Other states, looking to pass similar laws, will follow California’s lead so it’s critical that our state gets it right and sets a precedent of protecting immigrant driver’s rather than enshrining a discriminatory practice.
Thanks and ¡adelante! Arturo, Erick, Erica, Refugio, Luis, Mariana, and the rest of the Presente.org Team
P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.
Sources: 1. Real ID is slowly changing state drivers’ licenses. USA Today, January 22, 2014. 2. California Gives Immigrants Driver’s Licenses. AP, October 3, 2013.
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