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DMV Agrees To Provide Driver’s Test in Italian for ACLU Complainant

Posted: October 29, 2015|Category: Civil Rights Category: Discrimination

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The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles has agreed to provide a written driving test in Italian to an Italian national in need of a language accommodation. In July, the ACLU of Rhode Island filed a federal civil rights complaint on behalf of Danilo Saccoccio, a recent Italian immigrant whom the DMV has barred from taking the written driver’s license exam in any language other than English, Spanish or Portuguese. The complaint, filed with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, charges the DMV with violating a law that requires agencies receiving federal funding to provide meaningful access to programs and services for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP).

In its letter to the ACLU announcing its decision, the DMV stated that the agency will administer a written exam written in Italian to Mr. Saccoccio. The agency, however, maintained that it had no legal obligation to provide the translation and denied that its policies violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on national origin.

While the ACLU of Rhode Island is pleased that Mr. Saccoccio will finally have a chance to get his license, this single accommodation will not prevent the many other Rhode Islanders with limited English proficiency from being denied an accommodation when they seek a license. The ACLU of Rhode Island will continue to pursue the complaint to ensure all individuals can access to the agency's services without having to seek the help of the ACLU.

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