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King Hall on NPR, and Media Outreach

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Nov 20, 2009

Today I joined a panel discussion with NPR's Jennifer Ludden for a segment on the show "Tell Me More."  The show was taped for later broadcast.

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The issue for discussion was the safety implications of uninsured motorists.  In many states, including California, undocumented immigrants cannot obtain liability insurance.  Some, however, continue to operate motor vehicles.  This causes safety risks because they are not safety-tested through the driver's licensing process and, perhaps more importantly, as unlicensed drivers cannot secure liability insurance.  I wrote an article on this topic a few years ago that was published in a civil rights symposium of the Nevada Law Journal. (SYMPOSIUM: PURSUING EQUAL JUSTICE IN THE WEST: Driver's Licenses and Undocumented Immigrants: The Future of Civil Rights Law? Fall, 2004  5 Nev. L.J. 213California Senator Gil Cedillo, who has been trying to change the law in California to allow undocumented immigrants to secure driver's licenses, provided a copy of this article to every member of the California legislature.

Ira Mehlman from the Federation for American Immigration Reform also was in on the discussion.  An insurance company executive also was on the panel and talked about the magnitude of the problem of unlicensed drivers.  Mehlman talked about how states should not allow "illegal aliens" to obtain driver's licenses.  I talked about how licensing all drivers - undocumented and U.S. citizens alike - made the most sense from a public safety perspective.

The show is slated to air on Monday.  The audio also will be posted on the Tell Me More website.

Side note: whenever possible and practical, I do interviews with the news media because it allows us to reach thousands, perhaps millions of people through newspapers, television, radio and more.  It is a great way to educate people about pressing public policy issues, as well as to inform them about the great research and accomplishments at UC Davis School of Law.  Just ask 2L students Sarah Jebrock and Daniel Watts.  This is the radio interview they did earlier this year about their experiences as first year students at King Hall!