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Supporters rally in VA for law that would allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's license

Posted at 6:57 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 08:57:16-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- An electrified crowd gathered at the Virginia State Capitol Thursday morning in support of legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license.

Positioned in front of the Capitol stairs, hundreds waved signs and flags in the sky chanting, "si se puede," or "yes, we can."

The supporters were urging the General Assembly to pass legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants the right to get a driver's license, regardless of status.

Earlier this month on crossover day, both the House and Senate passed bills supporting the move.

Recently, the Senate passed driver privilege cards ( SB 34 ), which would allow the same privileges as a license or a permit.

Applicants would have to show an individual tax return and show they are not in violation of insurance requirements.

Opponents of driver's licenses for all say the move could open the door to identity fraud. But supporters say it will give immigrants in the state a better life, improve traffic safety and boost the economy by allowing them to find work.

Luis Oyola, an organizer with Legal Aid Justice Center, says it's time for a change.

"This is the time for the politicians to stand up to the climate of fear against immigrants and to stand up to driver's licenses," Oyola said. "This is truly a people's movement. This is just about one party or the other or their priorities. This is about what the people want. And about the legislators listening to what the people want."

If the legislation passes both chambers of the General Assembly and gets the governor's signature, the new law would go into effect in January 2021.

This story was originally published by Gabrielle Harmon on WTVR in Richmond, Virginia.