ACLU sues Indiana BMV over English-only driver's manual

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles for national origin discrimination because it only provides the driver's manual in English, but provides the written exam in 14 languages.

The suit was filed on behalf of Neighbor to Neighbor, Inc, a non-profit organization that assists refugees and other immigrants to the South Bend area.

Neighbor to Neighbor assists refugees and immigrants with basic tutoring, obtaining a library card, understand the tax system, seek and obtain employment and obtain a driver's license, the lawsuit says.

Because the manual is not available in any other languages, the group attempts to teach the immigrants and refugees the information in the driver's manual and expends a great deal of resources doing so, the lawsuit alleges.

Even then, the ACLU says the people assisted by the group have to take the written test 8 or 10 times before passing.

The written exam is available in the following languages:

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Burmese
  • Chin
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

The ACLU says failing to provide the driver's manual in any other language is national-origin discrimination in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The ACLU states it is irrational to make the manual only available in English, but provides the written exam in 14 different languages and violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks relief in the form of a driver's manual in the same languages the test is available, attorneys fees and acknowledgement the defendant's rights were violated.

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