In November, the Morgan Hill Police Department announced a proposed change to the city’s towing policy. Their current policy, established after significant advocacy from local immigrant community groups, put a halt to the unnecessary car impoundments for individuals driving without a license, and instead allowed for them to park the vehicle and have a licensed driver pick it up.
Since the implementation of AB 60 in January 2015, undocumented Californians have been able to apply for driver's licenses without proof of immigration status, increasing the safety of everyone on state roadways and providing security to millions of immigrant families. However, many community members have reported experiencing delays in receiving their AB 60 driver’s licenses despite the fact that they have applied.
Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing has stated that since the AB 60 law has passed, starting January 1, 2016 the Police Department will be changing its policy for towing unlicensed drivers based on an officer’s discretion. The towing policy would be discretionary in that if a person is in the process of applying for an AB 60 license and carries proof from the DMV of being in that process, an officer can use discretion in whether to require that the vehicle be towed. This would apply to those who receive citations for “fix-it tickets”; however, if an individual is pulled over for a “public safety” issue (such as running a stop sign or red light), even for those who have proof of being in the process of applying for an AB 60 license, will have their vehicles towed.
SIREN has been working with community-based organizations in South Santa Clara County in conversations with the Morgan Hill Police Chief regarding the impact on community members. We will continue to keep community members informed through AB 60 community education efforts in South County.
If you are interested in hosting an AB 60 presentation in your area, please contact Sandra Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org