ACLU Supports Universal Access to Driver Licenses for Maryland Residents

February 20, 2013

Download ACLU testimony on SB 715


CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555; media@aclu-md.org
Sirine Shebaya, Immigrants Rights Fellow, shebaya@aclu-md.org     

ANNAPOLIS - On February 20, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will testify to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in favor of Senate Bill 715, which would expand Maryland residents' access to a license to drive. The ACLU strongly supports this much-needed proposal in the Maryland Highway Safety Act of 2013 for many reasons, including the fundamental importance of driver's licenses to public safety and to individuals' ability to perform the most essential daily tasks.  

Without a license to drive, many individuals are unable to conduct basic functions such as buying groceries, driving children to medical appointments, or going to and from places of employment. In addition, expanding access to driver's licenses enhances public safety and thereby makes all of Maryland's residents better off. The ACLU will testify that providing access to limited driver licenses for individuals without lawful immigration status does not interfere with Maryland's compliance with the requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005 and does not raise national security concerns. The ACLU will also recommend that an anti-discrimination provision be added to ensure that holders of limited use driver's licenses are not subjected to discriminatory treatment, given the clearly distinguishable nature of limited use driver's licenses.

Statement of Sirine Shebaya, Immigrants Rights Fellow at the ACLU of Maryland: "Expanding Marylanders' access to a license to drive is sound public policy, promotes public safety, and is necessary to ensure that all of Maryland residents are treated with equal dignity and respect. The provision of limited use driver's licenses to individuals without proof of lawful immigration status does not affect Maryland's compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 and makes all of Maryland's residents better off."
 
WHAT: Hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 715, which would expand Maryland residents' access to a license to drive.

WHO:  Sirine Shebaya, Immigrants Rights Fellow, ACLU of Maryland. Shebaya will be available for media interviews.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 20, 2013; hearing begins at 1 PM.

WHERE: Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.

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