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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

MI Legislators introduce bill to give drivers' licenses to immigrants



The bill known as Drivers’ Licenses for Our Neighbors aims to provide undocumented immigrants and all other individuals who can’t prove legal presence with a drivers’ license. 

House Representative Rachel Hood from Grand Rapids, and one of the bill’s co-sponsors says this bill is an issue of safety.  

“We need to give people the basic right of being able to safely travel in our roads along with having drivers licenses individuals can have car insurance as well.” 

If the bill is passed, Hood says it will ensure all Michiganders who pass drivers’ tests, live in the state, and prover their identity are able to get a drivers’ license. 

“It becomes proof of residency as well just like a normal driver’s license would, so all of those basic functions that you and I enjoy it would be afforded to folks in our communities who are immigrants.”

Those who receive the driver’s license will be able to use it as a form of official identification, but cant use it for federal purposes. 

“These IDs have a recognizable feature that indicates for official federal purposes so that means that individuals won’t be able to use these IDs to vote in the United States.” 

And for immigrant rights advocates, the introduction of this bill is the victory they have been hoping for since they started urging lawmakers last year to change the law. Here is Gema Lowe from Movimiento Cosecha GR. 

“It’s a huge step in our fight and we feel proud of all the work that we built in doing people power.”

If this bill passes, Michigan will join Illinois in being the two states in the Midwest that allows undocumented immigrants access to a driver’s license. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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