LANSING, Mich –- State representatives Abraham Aiyash, Rachel Hood, Tyrone Carter and state senators Stephanie Chang, Mary Cavanagh, Jeremy Moss, Sylvia Santana, and Erika Geiss hosted a press conference on April 12th to announce the reintroduction of legislation to allow all Michigan residents to obtain state identification cards or driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status.
The package of bills is known as the Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom and Economy) plan, and while the bills have been introduced in previous sessions of the state legislature, they stand a very good chance of passage with the Democrats in charge of both houses and with the expressed support of
Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Sen. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.) and the Michigan Legislative Latino Caucus applauded the introduction of Senate Bills 265, 266, and 267 and House Bills 4410, 4411, and 4412, which will allow all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to obtain driver’s licenses. Currently, only individuals who pass the driver’s test and prove legal citizenship status are allowed to receive a driver’s license in Michigan, leaving immigrants without legal documentation unable to navigate the roads safely and legally.
“As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, first-generation American, and Chair of the Latino Caucus, I am a proud supporter and advocate of this much-needed legislation,” said Sen. Cavanagh. “Until 2008, proof of citizenship was not an additional barrier in accessing a driver’s license in Michigan. This legislation removes that barrier and restores accessibility for every Michigander to the necessities of life from work, healthcare and education, while also promoting road safety and strengthening community trust. I look forward to finally pushing this across the finish line for every Michigander.”
“Michigan residents need the freedom to travel, whether it’s to their jobs, their children’s schools, or grocery stores. By enabling everyone to obtain a driver’s license, people can take care of essential needs. We can make this a reality!” said Rep. Veronica Paiz (D-Harper Woods).
The immigrants’ rights advocacy group Strangers No Longer Announced a Week of Advocacy for the Drive SAFE Bills – May 19th thru May 25th . The group met with 65 Michigan legislators on February 28th to push for the reintroduction of the package of bills and will advocate for passage as the next step. Currently, 19 other states and Washington, D.C. allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses or other identification with proof of residency.