Virginia now allows undocumented immigrants to obtain legal permission to drive

July 25, 2020

 According to an article on WBOC.som, local activists on Delmarva celebrate the signing of a law that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain legal permission to drive. Some say this will make a world of difference but others fear it will open the door for fraud.

After years of advocating for a “License For All” bill, activists in the eastern shore now celebrate the driving privileges for the thousands of undocumented residents in the state.

“It feels great to finally see this happen. CASA has been advocating for over 6 years, I’ve been advocating for the last 4 years,”.

State Republicans have been opposed to this bill, arguing that this will allow identity fraud. During a House hearing earlier this year, delegate Terry Austin argued that “This could misrepresent an individual’s identity and compromise the safety in the United States,”

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Under the bill, the privilege card will not be considered a valid identification card, or allow people to vote.

Gomez says having the privilege card is less about politics and more about the community and will allow many to do something as simple as driving to work.

“You have to go to work, take kids to school, you have to take them to clinics, your own appointments leaving many with no option but to get behind the wheel,” added Gomez.

In order to get a privilege card by the Department of Motor Vehicle, a person must have income from Virginia, or, been claimed as a dependent on an individual tax return filed within the commonwealth in the preceding 12 months, and, not in violation of the insurance requirements.

Austin previously expressed concerns that the card would look so similar to a driver’s license that it would pave the way for misidentification. Some undocumented immigrants feared the DMV would release information and could lead to arrests or deportation. But the bill originally stated that an individual’s name won’t be released unless ordered by a court

Gomez adds that the bill will allow undocumented immigrants to continue contributing to the economy.

“Once you have a license you can buy a car, you can rent a car, grow your business,” said Gomez.

A law is already in place for undocumented Delaware and Maryland drivers but now adding to the list is Virginia. The law in Virginia will be in effect starting January 1st, 2021.

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