Drivers License Access
In 2013, 32BJ and DC JWJ and a coalition of partners worked together to achieve a historic law, making District residents eligible for a driver’s license or DC identification card regardless of citizenship or immigration status. This was a part of a series of campaigns led by local communities to make cities and communities safer as the federal government continued to avoid comprehensive immigration reform, and to increase deportation and surveillance. When we won the campaign in 2014, DC was only the 6th state – including Puerto Rico – to provide state issued identification to non-citizens. Over 16,000 residents were made eligible for the new ID.
The law makes the District safer and gives residents greater economic opportunity and allows tens of thousands of D.C. residents to lead a more productive life. Allowing immigrants to drive legally also makes our streets safer and increases the willingness of immigrant witnesses and victims to aid in criminal investigations. Unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be in a fatal car accident, according to the AAA Foundation. The Pew Research Center estimates that 25,000 undocumented residents live in the District.
Written by Martin Thomas
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