LOS ANGELES (Dec. 18, 2014) — Through the tireless advocacy of the immigrant community and their allies over the past several years, all California residents will finally be eligible to receive a driver’s license regardless of their immigration status under the Safe and Responsible Drivers Act (AB 60). This long-awaited victory will allow undocumented Californians to be able to travel safely within the state without risking the consequences of unlicensed driving such as tickets, vehicle impoundments, and potential arrests.
“Our community members can now drive safely to work and school. AB 60’s long due and historic victory resulted from all immigrant communities working in unity. The Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) and Korean American community in Los Angeles welcome this change,” said Alexandra Suh, Executive Director of KIWA.
“AB 60 will make it easier for hard-working Pacific Islanders to support their families and contribute meaningfully to their communities while helping to make our roads safer for everyone,” said Tana Lepule, Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities.
“AB 60 will give undocumented parents the peace of mind when picking up and dropping off their children at school. Our community looks forward to the implementation of AB 60,” said Hee Joo Yoon, Executive Director of the Korean Resource Center.
Beginning January 1, 2015, undocumented Californians can receive a non-commercial driver’s license from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by completing the DL-44 application form, paying the standard $33 application fee, and passing both the knowledge and behind-the-wheel tests. Under the law, AB 60 driver’s license recipients are protected from discrimination by law enforcement agencies.
“This AB 60 Driver’s License Bill will allow undocumented immigrants to step out of the shadows and be further integrated in society,” said Chanchanit (Chancee) Martorell, Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center. “It eliminates the fear from performing ordinary tasks like going to work, grocery shopping, and dropping kids off to school. It treats law-abiding members of our society as law-abiding members of our society. These are people who are trying to do what’s right and this bill is finally allowing them to do just that.”
An estimated 416,000 undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) will be eligible to receive an AB 60 driver’s license in the state of California, underscoring the need to raise awareness within the AAPI community about this new policy and to demystify misinformation that might deter AAPI undocumented immigrants from availing it.
“AB 60 is a victory for our immigrant communities and groups who have advocated for this issue for decades,” said Joanna Concepcion, Executive Director of the Filipino Migrant Center. “Roughly 1 in 4 Filipinos are undocumented in the U.S. and it’s important that Filipinos are well-informed about how this new law could benefit them.”
“There are 1.2 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, and 24% live in California,” said Kawen T. Young, Executive Director of Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Alliance. “Among these residents, a significant percentage of Pacific Islanders are immigrants from the nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. The AB 60 Drivers’ License implementation will ensure that those who are undocumented can drive legally and safely in the State of California.”
As the DMV anticipates the full implementation of AB 60, the AAPI community will continue to advocate for the accessibility of DMV resources and materials to AAPI undocumented immigrants, particularly to those who have low English proficiency, to ensure that this policy becomes a successful program for all undocumented Californians.
“This was fought for because it would make a big difference in many people’s lives, and we are here to help everyone in our community make it successfully through the application process. Nandito kami para tumulong (We are here to help),” said Aquilina Soriano Versoza, Executive Director of the Pilipino Worker Center.
“We are dedicated to informing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community about the benefits of AB 60 to help community members make an educated decision about applying for drivers licenses,” said Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “As we look forward to seeing AB 60 improve the livelihoods of undocumented Californians, we continue our commitment to fight for a more comprehensive solution that would provide all undocumented immigrants with the dignity they deserve.”
For more information, please visit the AB 60 website: http://ab60.dmv.ca.gov/ or call the DMV hotline at: 1-800-777-0133
Advancing Justice – LA can also provide in-language assistance at the following numbers:
Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese): 800-520-2356
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.
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