March 13, 2013

CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555; 

Sirine Shebaya, Liman Fellow; 

ANNAPOLIS - On March 13, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will testify to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the HB 789, which would create a limited use driver's license, and to the House Health and Government Operations Committee in opposition to House Bill 317, which would mandate the use of E-Verify.

The ACLU strongly supports House Bill 789, the Maryland Highway Safety Act, which would create a limited use driver's license that would help provide more Marylanders with access to basic daily life necessities and would help improve public safety and security. Without the ability to drive, people cannot perform daily functions without hardship, especially where public transportation is not readily available. Limited driver licenses could benefit a large number of Maryland residents and will result in a dramatic decrease of unlicensed drivers on the road. Additionally, the limited driver license proposal is consistent with the standards set forth in the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. 

The ACLU of Maryland strongly opposes HB 317, which would mandate the use of the E-Verify program by certain employers and contractors in Maryland. E-Verify is a seriously flawed system because it erodes our right to privacy, has unacceptable error rates, and fails to provide sufficient due process protections for injured workers. The E-Verify system contains enormous amounts of information about workers such as names, social security numbers, and immigration information. The scope of this collected data creates a high risk of both government surveillance and identity theft. Moreover, the error rate and absence of due process protections result in job loss or delay for qualified workers sorely in need of employment.

Statement of Sirine Shebaya, Liman Fellow, ACLU of Maryland: 

Driver's Licenses: "This proposal is a reasonable, responsible way of ensuring that Maryland's residents are not deprived of the ability to drive while keeping the roads safer for all Marylanders."

E-Verify: "E-Verify poses serious threats to our privacy rights and to worker protections, with error rates that result in job loss and delay and virtually no recourse for correcting erroneous results. Mandating the flawed E-Verify program in Maryland be an extremely poor policy choice and would serve only to amplify the program's problems in our local context."

WHAT: Hearing on HB 789 - Vehicle Laws - Lawful Status Requirement - Repeal (Maryland Highway Safety Act of 2013) and on HB 317 - State Government - E-Verify Program.

WHO:  Sirine Shebaya, Attorney with the ACLU of Maryland's Immigrants Rights Project. Shebaya will be available for media interviews.

WHEN: Wednesday March 13, 2013; hearings begin at 1 PM. 

WHERE: HB 317 -- House Healthy and Government Operations Committee; HB 789 -- House Judiciary Committee; House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.