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Mayor Gray Outlines DC Drivers Safety Amendment Act of 2013 in Weekly Radio Address

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mayor Gray Outlines DC Drivers Safety Amendment Act of 2013 in Weekly Radio Address

Legislation Would Improve Public Safety and Alleviate Hardships on Undocumented Residents

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray used his weekly radio address this week to outline the provisions of the DC Drivers Safety Amendment Act of 2013, which he transmitted to the DC Council last week. The bill would enable undocumented residents to gain driver’s licenses and insure and register automobiles, improving public safety and alleviating immoral burdens currently imposed on the undocumented community.

The broadcast can be heard on All News 99.1-FM WNEW radio beginning at 10:05 am on Sunday, May 5. The text of the address is below:


Remarks of Mayor Vincent C. Gray

Weekly Radio Address

All News 99.1-FM WNEW

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Hello, WNEW listeners! I’m Vincent C. Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia. Last week, the District made national news when I – joined by Chairman Phil Mendelson, other members of the DC Council, and advocates for immigrants – announced that I had introduced the District of Columbia Drivers Safety Amendment Act of 2013.

This historic legislation is designed to increase public safety for all who drive, ride, walk or bike in the District of Columbia by ensuring that undocumented residents not only can obtain a driver’s license, but they also can insure and register automobiles in the District of Columbia. They would have to submit documentation to prove their residency in the District, and they would have to take the same written and oral tests the Department of Motor Vehicles requires of all other drivers in our city.

This legislation puts us in the vanguard of a national movement to help not only immigrant communities, but also our entire community by making our city a safer and more just place. It reduces incentives for criminals to sell fake IDs on the criminal market – a market that preys especially on vulnerable undocumented workers. And it provides subsidiary benefits to all of our taxpayers – including increased revenues and business activity.

But, most importantly, this legislation alleviates burdens on immigrants by enabling legal automobile ownership – an economic lifeline for many hard-working families. Can you imagine being legally prohibited from owning or operating an automobile? You couldn’t legally drive to work or church, or take your kids to school, or drive a loved one to the hospital if they became ill.

I met an undocumented District resident this week who is directly affected by the problem that this legislation would alleviate. One of her adult sons was deported by the federal government a few months ago, and he left behind an automobile that is currently sitting idle because she has no way to register or operate it. This woman could put that car to good use building a better life for herself and her family. Instead, it is going to waste.

That’s simply unjust and unfair – and I’m proud that the District is one of the first places in the nation to challenge that immoral status quo.

This legislation complements similar legislation that our neighbors in Maryland have just approved. I applaud Governor Martin O’Malley for his work on this, and congratulate him for standing with the District at the forefront of this civil-rights movement.

As you know, Congress and the White House are currently debating immigration policy. My administration is also working hard at other efforts to help the many undocumented immigrants who have made the District of Columbia their home, who are raising families here and who contribute every day to this growing city. We are moving on the calls for action that will alleviate daily roadblocks which make life more difficult for our friends and neighbors.

I hope Congress and the President will soon follow through with meaningful immigration reform. In the meantime, I ask the D.C. Council to work with me to swiftly approve the Drivers Safety Act.

Thank you very much. I’m Vincent C. Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia.