Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Unlicensed immigrants to benefit from new LAPD car impound policy

The controversy over undocumented immigrants who drive without a license hit fever pitch in Los Angeles last week, after L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck came out in favor of driver's licenses for these immigrants as a matter of public safety. Now, the city's police commission has approved Beck's recommendations for a new vehicle impound policy, one that favors unlicensed drivers who also happen to be low-paid immigrants, a group disproportionately affected by impound fees.

The LA Weekly explains how it will work:

The modified rule will allow unlicensed drivers to avoid 30-day impounds if they have insurance, registration and a valid ID.

Under the 4-1 Police Commission vote, such drivers aren't eligible for the deal if ...

... they've had suspended or revoked licenses or had been caught driving without one previously.

The new rule avoids the mandatory 30-day impound usually imposed on those caught driving unlicensed in L.A. and instead allows a tow and impound for just a day or a few depending the drivers' ability to get their cars out of hawk.

Under the old way, unlicensed drivers often lost their cars because the 30-day impounds -- with towing and storage fees that topped $1,200 -- were too costly and sometimes added up to more than the cars were worth.

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