Hawaiian Immigrants Can Drive Now

September 21, 2015 11:36 am
by David Jakeman

What can be one of the biggest challenges for undocumented immigrants in the United States when they want to hit the road? Well, if you’re come from some former British colonies or England itself, it might be making the transfer from driving on the wrong—left—side of the road. But for most undocumented immigrants, one of the biggest challenges to driving in the United States is the fact that it can be illegal for them.

Driver’s Licenses in Hawaii

As most Hawaiian immigration attorneys know, House Bill 1007 passed the Hawaiian state legislature and was recently signed into law by the Hawaiian governor David Ige. It allows for the state to create special driver’s license for drivers who do not have the documents necessary to prove they are legally living in the country. This is great news for many immigrants who are looking for a way to get around.

The United States, in part because of its expansive geographic scope, has relied on cars for the past several decades. Some might say too much. And even though Hawaii is not as geographically large as some places, like Texas, the special provision will be of great help to undocumented immigrants.

Filipino Immigrants in Hawaii

The passage of this bill took a lot of support from many different sectors, but advocates for immigrants played a very important role. Some Hawaii immigration attorneys might even be familiar with them. One major group, the Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform, provided staunch support for the bill.

Other important players in the passage of the bill were Filipino community leaders and advocacy groups. Hawaii has many Filipino immigrants who come to the country, not always with the necessary documents, so it can be difficult to drive around. The Filipino Citizens League’s support shows how important the passage of this bill was for the Filipino community.

Other Groups

It’s not just the immigrant communities in Hawaii who stand to benefit from this new law. The law can help people such as the homeless or even those who are domestic violence victims who have fled their homes without the documentation necessary to fulfill the paperwork.1 It’s seen by many as a helpful bill that will also help protect all Hawaiians by making sure those driving have been properly trained and tested.

Hawaii immigration attorneys are happy to see that their clients’ lives, which can be very stressful, won’t have this added challenge. Many immigrants face numerous difficulties, and removing some of these so that they can navigate their new world better seems like the right idea. That is not to say everyone is happy with the bill. Some believe that such laws incentivize undocumented immigration. It’s hard to please everyone with an issue as contentious as immigration.

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