The Unexpected Benefit of AB 60? Organ Donor Surge

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California has seen a significant increase in organ donors following the January 2 implementation of AB 60 which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driving licenses. 9 out of 10 organ donors register at the DMV, and as of March 3, 167,000 new licenses to undocumented immigrants had been distributed. From January 2, 2015 through March 30, 2015, the CA DMV received, 502,000 applicants for licenses under AB 60, far more than CA originally forecast. No updated numbers on organ donors have been released.

What does this mean? For one, it means new hope for Latinos languishing on organ transplant lists. 79 organ transplants occur each day in the United States, but 27 people die each day while awaiting an organ transplant. 1 in 5 people who are currently on the organ donor transplant list live in CA. Approximately 18.7% of individuals on the transplant list are Latino. The surge in Latino transplant donors means new hope.

Nationwide, other states have been watching the implementation of AB 60 and are considering following suit. Overall benefits of allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses include safer roads and more insured drivers on the road. Now, it is clear, there is an additional unanticipated benefit.

California recently reached 12 million registered organ donors. The surge in organ donors means 45% of CA residents are now registered organ donors. However, this is below the 50% average across states. To become an organ donor, a person can easily register when getting his or her license, or they can visit sites such as organdonor.gov or donatelifecalifornia.gov to register or learn more about becoming an organ donor.

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