Thousands of undocumented families feel safer on the roads after getting driver privilege card

The card is effective for two years

In a little over a month, more than 2,500 undocumented residents have taken advantage of the state's new driver privileges cards.

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – In just a little over a month, 2,563 undocumented residents have taken advantage of the state’s new driver privilege cards.

When you head to work, to the store, or maybe going to pick up your kids, you probably just grab your keys and go. But there are tens of thousands of families in Virginia who constantly look over their shoulders, until now.

Asking us to conceal her identity, 10 News spoke to a driver privilege card recipient who said when her letter arrived in the mail, 23 years of fear lifted from her shoulders.

“You don’t want to get your hopes up but finally when it did happen they were really happy,” she said.

The fear of seeing red and blue lights flashing behind her.

“She didn’t want her kids seeing the police like arrest or give a ticket to her,” she said.

Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, the executive director for Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, said some families are immediately deported.

“Just one traffic incident could destroy the life of a family,” he said.

For seven years, the recipient had a driver’s license. But after 9/11, she was one of many immigrants who had it revoked because of heightened worry of national security at the time.

Though she did not have problems obtaining her new card through the DMV, other families have.

Training and tax verification problems halted the process for some people. However, after writing a letter to the DMV, Aranda-Yanoc said the challenges are being addressed.

Now he is pushing for House Bill 2163 to pass that would protect people’s information from being easily turned over to ICE.

“If ICE wants to have access, they need a judicial warrant or a subpoena,” he said.

The bill moved forward and now needs to be reviewed by the state senate.

If you would like to get a driver privilege card, sign up on the DMV website for an appointment.

Make sure to bring tax return documentation, two proofs of identity, two proofs of Virginia residency and your taxpayer identification number/social security number.

The card is effective for two years.

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.