New Kentuckians at the Capitol

Affiliate: ACLU of Kentucky
March 11, 2013 11:20 am

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Immigrants & Allies Gather in Frankfort for Immigration Advocacy Day

March 11, 2013

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LOUISVILLE, KY – Immigrants and their allies from across the state convened in Frankfort Wednesday, February 27 for “New Kentuckians at the Capitol” Immigration Advocacy Day. More than 150 people pre-registered to attend the event, organized and supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.

Participants talked with legislators about why they should be thinking about New Kentuckians when making policy. They also lobbied for a public safety measure, House Bill 396, introduced by Rep. Johnny Bell (D-Barren). HB 396 would provide undocumented immigrants, and immigrants awaiting authorization, access to a driving certificate. The bill would enable those who pass the driving examination to drive legally in Kentucky. When discussing why he filed the bill Rep. Bell has said, “I did not want immigrants to continue to live in fear and in the shadows.”

Measures similar to HB 396 have been filed all over the country, and several states have already passed similar legislation. These states have demonstrated how these measures increase public safety. For example, Utah saw the number of drivers with car insurance increase substantially after passage of their law. The ACLU of Kentucky supports HB 396 because we believe all Kentuckians are safer when everyone knows the rules of the road and has access to car insurance.

Advocacy day participants gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a press conference and rally, proudly waving signs declaring “I AM a Kentuckian.” A number of immigrants shared their stories of how they became Kentuckians. Sagar Patagundi was among them. “I spoke not just on behalf of myself, or on behalf of my broken family, but all of Kentucky’s immigrant families affected by our unworkable system,” said Patagundi.

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