Urge Governor Northam to expand driver's licenses to all Virginians

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The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 1211, which create driver privilege cards (DPCs) for people living in Virginia without documentation. While these DPCs allow everyone the opportunity to legally drive, it creates a new class of authorized drivers that will institutionalize discrimination against immigrant communities.

Expanding drivers' licenses to all people who live in Virginia, regardless of immigration status, is vital to reducing the risk of discrimination inherent in a DPC. All of our residents deserve a meaningful and non-discriminatory way to drive legally and get insured, and all of our residents deserve roads that are safer because more drivers are licensed and insured.

Assuring that all residents can be licensed is especially important during the current health crisis since there is a heightened risk of serious harm from COVID-19 exposure to people out in public. To keep us all safe, it is important that Virginia have sensible and equitable policies that allow individuals to drive safely to help maintain physical distance and have access to medical care and other basic necessities.

Tell Governor Northam to amend Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 1211 to provide Virginia driver's licenses (not DPCs) to all Virginia residents, regardless of immigration status.

Message Recipients:
Governor Ralph Northam

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Your Message

As the Governor of Virginia, you have the responsibility to keep all Virginian residents safe, regardless of immigration status. Requiring and enabling every resident of Virginia to obtain a driver’s license is essential to public safety, and, unlike a driver’s privilege card (DPC), would not expose Virginians to discrimination, and even deportation.

To keep us all safe in this current health crisis, it is vital that Virginia have sensible, equitable policies that would allow individuals to drive safely to help maintain physical distance and to have access to medical care and other basic necessities.

As passed, House Bill 1211 and Senate Bill 34 would grant DPCs – but not access to existing state (not REAL-ID) licenses. While these DPCs allow everyone the opportunity to drive legally, DPCs create a new, separate class of authorized drivers that will institutionalize discrimination against immigrant communities by subjecting people to:

- Limits on their privacy which could result in deportation.

- Unnecessary probes into tax information.

- Excessive fees.

- Limits on their civil rights.

It is vital that Virginia act affirmatively to offer all drivers the opportunity to obtain driver’s licenses, without the worry of being exposed to discrimination. All Virginians deserve to feel safe on and off the roads. REAL-ID requirements assure us that no one will be able to get on a plane or enter a federal facility who is not in the country with authority. Non-REAL-ID driver’s licenses cannot be used for such purposes and should be issued to any resident.

I urge you as my governor to amend SB 34 and HB 1211 to provide standard driver’s licenses for all Virginia residents, regardless of immigration status.

If you choose not to protect public safety by recommending amendments that would extend non-REAL-ID driver’s licenses to all Virginia residents, at a minimum, we urge you to amend these bills to:

- Protect information on DPC applicants from disclosure or direct the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to put in place rules that protect such information from disclosure to federal immigration authorities.

- Delete the discriminatory requirement that tax information be provided only by people seeking DPCs.

- Impose equal fees for driver’s privilege cards.

- Direct DMV to develop a card that doesn’t “mark” someone as an immigrant and invite discrimination.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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