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Local Immigrants Plan Rally for Drivers Licenses for All Michigan bill at the Secretary of State office 

Who: Immigrants and allies from Movimiento Cosecha Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti
What: Demonstration demanding Drivers Licenses for All
Where: Parking lot in front of the Secretary of State office,
           4675 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor

When: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm 

Local immigrants and allies will lead a protest Wednesday demanding passage of a stalled bill to return the right to a driver’s license for Michigan’s undocumented immigrants. The Drive SAFE bill, introduced in November in the Michigan legislature, would restore access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in Michigan. 

 

Participants, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, will protest near the Michigan Secretary of State office, 4675 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, at 2:30 pm.

 

The local chapter of Moviemento Cosecha, a national immigrants’ rights organization, helped introduce and support the passage of the “driver’s licenses for all” bill. Its volunteers helped win support for driver’s licenses for all from the Washtenaw County commissioners and the Washtenaw Sheriff’s office.

 

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to allow unauthorized immigrants to get a driver’s license. Michigan law allowed it until 2008. In recent years, immigrants with traffic violations have been the fastest growing group of people facing deportation. 

 

Last fall, state Sens. Stephanie Chang and Winnie Brinks, and Representatives Alex Garza and Rachel Hood introduced legislation to restore undocumented immigrants’ access to drivers’ licenses with Senate Bills 0631 and 0632 and House Bills 5192 and 5193.

 

A driver’s license is the primary form of identification, and almost every hospital, business, and government offices requires one for service. 

 

“Undocumented immigrants need drivers licenses to take their kids to school, go to work, and visit the doctor,” said Sergio Hurtado, a Cosecha volunteer. “Getting pulled over is the number one reason that undocumented immigrants come into contact with police and a detention system that can soon lead to deportation.”

 

With the corona-virus pandemic, immigrants without ID can be denied service, and the fear of being deported leaves many unwilling to even pursue testing and medical care, he said.

 

“We know that a license doesn’t protect us from deportation but it gives us a little relief when we try to rent a home, work, leave our children at school, and go shopping,” said Yamalith C., an undocumented Cosecha volunteer from Honduras.

 

“That’s why we are demanding the return of our drivers’ licenses—because it is a right that we have earned."

 

 
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