OPPOSE SB 249 (Hueso): High-Tech Discrimination Against Immigrants


OPPOSE SB 249 (Hueso)

High-Tech Discrimination Against Immigrants

Distributed September 10, 2015


Late amendments remove the basic safeguards necessary to prohibit discrimination against immigrants and protect against privacy invasions


SB 249 would allow the DMV to issue “enhanced” driver’s licenses (EDLs) that allow police to find out a person’s race, age, gender, citizenship status, and more from up to 30 feet away without the cardholder’s knowledge.  These licenses contain an RFID chip that broadcasts personally identifying information and can be used to find out if the cardholder has ever been arrested.  Speeding up passage across the border sounds good, but not at the cost of privacy rights and discrimination against non-citizens.

  • Late amendments let employers discriminate against immigrants. EDLs are a new citizens-only driver’s license.  As amended, SB 249 would allow employers to require that employees have an EDL to get or keep their jobs – allowing them to refuse employment to any immigrant that has not become a naturalized citizen.
  • SB 249 now gives law enforcement a new tool to engage in racial profiling. EDLs link a person’s criminal background check to their driver’s license and broadcast personal information to law enforcement and anyone who has an inexpensive device you can make at home. That means that police officers can know a person’s race, citizenship status, and whether you’ve been arrested before they can even see the person. Racial profiling in police stops is already a huge problem without making the problem worse by giving police the ability to collect sensitive personal information before deciding who to stop and when.
  • Late amendments deleted important privacy protections. Other states ensure that RFID information is encrypted or otherwise protected from unauthorized access. Last minute amendments to SB 249 deleted this provision.



SB 249 is Opposed By:



American Civil Liberties Union of California

Asian Law Alliance

CAIR California

Equal Rights Advocates

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

National Center for Lesbian Rights

Root & Rebound

San Jose Peace & Justice Center

The Multiracial Activist

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