For Immediate Release
Monday, February 22, 2021
Driver Information Protection Bill Passes VA Senate Finance & Appropriations Committee
Richmond, VA — Today, the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee passed H.B. 2163, the DMV Data Privacy Protection bill to help safeguard the information of new immigrant drivers who obtained a driver privilege card.
H.B. 2163 would add privacy protection measures for all driver’s information since state police and third-party data companies are able to access this information and potentially share it with ICE. This information includes where a person lives, what car they drive, and a photo of what they look like.
“Immigrant drivers are doing the right thing by taking the road test and getting a driver privilege card,” said Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “By not protecting the information of drivers, we are putting at risk thousands of drivers and their families from being targeted by ICE.”
Currently, anyone obtaining a driver privilege card (DPC) could run the risk of having their information shared unethically. There are several states who previously shared DMV data with federal law enforcement agencies, such as Washington, Vermont, Utah, North Carolina, and Georgia. In granting access to the DMV database, states are feeding into the ICE pipeline, handing ICE a list of potential deportees.
“We applaud the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee for passing this important bill,” said John Cano, Centreville Immigration Forum. “This is a great victory for all Virginians as we continue to be a welcoming Virginia for all.”
Over 270,000+ undocumented immigrants are eligible to obtain a driver privilege card. This has helped families have the opportunity to drive to work, go to the doctors, and improve their quality of life.
“It is hope and relief for us. A great achievement,” said Geronimo R., driver and community member with Centreville Immigration Forum.
H.B. 2163 will now be sent to the full Senate for consideration of passage. If passed, H.B. 2163 would need to be sent to a conference committee due to language changes in the Senate.