Catholic leaders from parishes and high schools are making a pilgrimage to Lansing to visit with their Senators and Representatives. They will be pressing demands for new legislation allowing immigrants — regardless of their status — to gain a Drivers’ License and/or State ID.
STRANGERS NO LONGER is organizing over 100 Catholics for this pilgrimage on Tuesday, February 28. Delegates are coming from Traverse City and across the state.
State Senators Mary Cavanagh and Jeff Irwin and State Representatives Tyrone Carter and Regina Weiss will welcome them to Lansing. On December 9th these elected officials pledged to 360 members of STRANGERS NO LONGER to reintroduce legislation in the first quarter of 2023 that would ensure immigrants could obtain drivers’ licenses or state IDs known as the Drive Safe bills.
STRANGERS NO LONGER is a network of Catholics across Michigan responding effectively to the words of Pope Francis who says to “welcome immigrants as your brothers and sisters.” 21 Catholic parishes and 10 Catholic high schools have STRANGERS NO LONGER Circles of Support, and there are also 7 Circles of Support of Immigrant Women.
The group will travel to Lansing by bus and car on Tuesday, February 28th and meet at 9 a.m. at the Capitol. They will be briefed by elected officials, and then go to their appointments with senators and representatives.
Over 100,000 people who live, work, raise children, and pay taxes in Michigan do not have access to a driver’s license or state ID due to their immigration status. Think of the problems that arise simply by not having a valid form of identification. You can’t drive to work, your children to school, or go to the grocery store. You don’t have an acceptable ID at some pharmacies. Enrolling your children in school becomes a problem.
According to immigrant members of Strangers No Longer, the inability to drive in Michigan is the number one problem they face. At our Assembly for Human Dignity on December 9th, we heard personal testimony about the daily problems resulting from not having a driver’s license and the emotional trauma that comes from being treated as “less” or as a “societal problem” instead of as a person who contributes to our community and economy.