CASA de Maryland Celebrates Signing of Act Allowing Immigrant Drivers to Qualify for Licenses.
Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the Maryland Highway Safety Act (SB 715/HB 789) permitting undocumented immigrants that live and raise families in Maryland access to a driver’s license. This critical measure will provide mobility to families and ensure that drivers have the access the driver’s education and auto insurance coverage important to safe streets.
“Maryland once again proved that despite a broken immigration system, reasonable minds can build safe communities that are knit together by our common interests,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland. “Our members, mothers and fathers, shop owners and seamstresses, need access to driver’s to get to work, to drive their children to school, to take their parents to the doctor. Thanks to the visionary leadership of the Maryland General Assembly, they are one step closer to making those journeys without fear.”
At today’s signing, more than hundreds of immigrants crowded into the State House to celebrate the historic occasion which marks Maryland as just the fifth state in the country with license access for the undocumented. With shouts of “Si Se Puede” as people left the capital building, CASA members shared stories about the difference this license access would make in their lives.
“When I confronted domestic violence, I had to rely on an enormous web of neighbors and friends to help me with childcare, court dates, and more,” said Jenifer Valera, an East Baltimore County resident. “I am very glad that no woman will have to confront again the impact that the lack of mobility has on someone confronting such difficult circumstances,” said Ms. Valera.
CASA de Maryland, a key advocate in support of the measure, was joined by the Maryland Catholic Conference, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the ACLU of Maryland, and other faith and community organizations. The bill was supported by public safety and political leaders such as County Executives Isiah “Ike” Leggett of Montgomery County and Rushern Baker of Prince George’s County, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, and many others.
“We applaud the legislative leadership of Senate Sponsor Victor Ramirez, House Sponsor Jolene Ivey, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Vallario, and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian Frosh,” said Mr. Torres. “These leaders, joined today by Governor Martin O’Malley, know that driver’s license access for immigrants is good for all Marylanders who drive on our roads.”