AAA lobbies for harsher penalties for unliscenced drivers- undocumented immigrants disproportionately effected

From Qué Pasa

Raleigh. – (By Jose Vicente Bernabeu / Stehepanie Proaño) One in seven U.S. drivers drive without a license, a figure that increases to 21 percent in North Carolina, according to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA). AAA recently applied this argument to toughen penalties for those who drive in this state without permission.

According to Angela Dailey, a AAA representative in the Carolinas, the study in 2011 revealed that 1 in 5 drivers involved in an accident are not licensed o have their license revoked, something that, according to the representative, must be fought “for national security. ”

Based on this data, the influential association launched a campaign seeking legislative support in the House of Representatives to create a new law next January aimed to toughen penalties against drivers who are caught driving without a license.

Already, the idea of ​​the corporation has gained the support of a politician, willing to take the initiative to the Legislature after elections in November.
Democratic Senator for Mecklenburg County, Malcolm Graham, welcomed the initiative of AAA and told WSOCTV of Charlotte,that penalties for drivers who drive without a license “should change and be more stringent” .

At press time Senator Graham has still not responded to Que Pasa nor sent an email to confirm or deny his position.

Expressed rejection
AAA’s proposal has provoked a complete rejection in organizations that defend the rights of immigrants in North Carolina, they consider the initiative a “disguised attack” to the state’s undocumented population.

In this sense, Maudia Melendez, director of Jesus Ministry of Charlotte, regretted that in this state undocumented persons “have no choice but to drive without a license if they want to make a normal life” and said that a measure such as that proposed by AAA ” can not be, in any way, the solution. ”

For this reason, Jesus Ministry has collected more than 6,000 signatures to get undocumented persons residing in North Carolina the ability to obtain driver’s licenses.

“This situation is counterproductive …they can not be licensed if they can not access insurance or buy a car legally, the state is losing millions of dollars, “said Melendez lamenting that this proposal comes at a time when the deportation program 287 ( g) could be coming to an end.

Raleigh lobbyist John Herrera expressed the same view, he said that such a move would only contribute to “strangle a community and threaten and endanger more people on the roads”.

Herrera said that such policies are a response to “the reasoning of Alabama or Arizona” and are more based on “racism and discrimination than on finding an effective solution to the problems we have in this country.”

When questioned by Qué Pasa, AAA spokesman nationwide, Michael Green, said that “all drivers must have a driver’s license or permit” but made clear that the AAA affiliate in each region acts independently to the head office.

The representative said he welcomed the initiative taken by the corporate headquarters in the Carolinas if this helps improve highway safety, but stressed that each office has its own projects in each area.