Dozens gather to fight for undocumented Arizonans to obtain driver’s licenses
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Driving a car is something many of us take for granted. However, a license would make a huge difference for undocumented people in Arizona.
Dozens of people showed up at the state capitol on Wednesday to show their support for two proposed bills that would allow any Arizonan to get a driver’s license, as long as they’re old enough to drive. “When I see a police officer next to me, it feels like I can’t breathe,” undocumented Dreamer Maria Garcia said.
That’s why Garcia, who has lived in Arizona since she was four and doesn’t have a license, tries to drive as little as possible. One of the exceptions for the third-year ASU student is driving to class. But one wrong move, maybe not even by her, could change everything. “It’s not like I have this money where I could get this car if it’s impounded,” she said. “And just the extreme: what if I do get deported?”
That sense of safety, both on the roads and in the minds of undocumented Arizonans, is a big reason why Rep. Flavio Bravo (D-District 26) feels so strongly that undocumented Arizonans should be able to have a driver’s license. Bravo is one of those who co-sponsored House Bill 2064. “The reality is you need to drive in Arizona,” he said. “To get groceries, if you go to work, to provide for your family. It’s not just a luxury for the few. It’s a must for all.”
Bravo believes undocumented Arizonans having a driver’s license would mean better communication between law enforcement and various communities. “If this does not pass, then we face the continued status quo that people are driving unlicensed, and uninsured,” he said. “And that’s unsafe.”
Right now, driving unlicensed and uninsured is Garcia’s only option. If that were to change, she’d still drive extra carefully, but it would feel different. “I won’t get deported,” she said. “My safety, my parent’s safety, they’ll come home if they do drive. I think it’s just important for our safety and for the roads’ safety.”
House Bill 2604 and Senate Bill 1587 have not been assigned to a committee.
Copyright 2023 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.