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East L.A. community denounces car impounds, demands driver's licenses for all

By staff |
August 23, 2012
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LA protest demands driver's licenses for all
LA protest demands driver's licenses for all (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Los Angeles, CA - The Centro CSO (Community Service Organization) and the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) held a town hall meeting on August 18 in East Los Angeles to mobilize the community to support the statewide campaign, Licenses for All - to push a law demanding driver’s licenses for undocumented migrants and immigrants.

California Assembly member Gil Cedillo planned on introducing this new bill in August. Gil Cedillo decided to not introduce a new bill since the federal program Deferred Action will allow those eligible to apply for a driver’s licenses and a broader bill would not be supported by Governor Jerry Brown this year. Gil Cedillo plans that another assembly member from Southern California will introduce a broader bill in 2013, since Cedillo is leaving the assembly because of California’s term limit law.

The Centro CSO and SCIC has for years monitored and denounced the Los Angeles Police Department’s DUI and driver’s license checkpoints, as well as the 30-day car impounds, as a money-making scheme at the expense of undocumented people, since they target the Mexican and Central American communities. The police department has introduced minor changes, but L.A. County Sheriff L. Baca’s department continues to do 30-day impounds. Baca also supports the ICE program ‘Secure Communities’ (SCOMM), which leads to many detentions and deportations.

The meeting agreed to unite and attend a protest on Sept. 12, at 10:00 am at the East L.A. Sheriff’s station to demand Sheriff Baca to stop the 30-day car impound and that he stop his cooperation with the ICE program SCOMM.

Many of the local residents of East L.A. voiced their concerns and protests about police using racial profiling for traffic stops, leading to 30-day car impounds. They also talked about the police predatory traffic patrols in the community that lead to mass car impounds.

The town hall meeting featured Gil Saucedo of the National Lawyers Guild, who gave a Know Your Rights review; Veronica Ramirez, a local organizer and mother, who urged the people to join the campaign; David Cid, a local resident and teacher, who talked about the fight for equality; and Carlos Montes, who spoke about the need for people to join an organization like CSO to continue the struggle for full legalization.

The organizations will once again demand an immediate moratorium on car impounds for drivers who are not allowed to legally obtain driver’s licenses due to their immigration status. The organizers called for the community to unite and mobilize a campaign to support the passage of this new law and to call on Governor Jerry Brown to sign it into law. The only real solution to this problem is for California to once again issue driver’s licenses to undocumented people and stop the predatory racist car impounds in Mexican and Central American communities.

For more information, call 626-532-7164, or go to facebook.com/centrocso or to www.csosite.org