Drive SAFE Plan guarantees driver’s licenses for immigrants

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(WLNS) LANSING, Mich.— The Michigan House and Senate discussed bills called the Drive SAFE plan (Safety, Access, Freedom and the Economy) also known as 433 and 434. amid a virtual press conference.

These pieces of legislation will help restore driver’s licenses for immigrants in the state of Michigan.

The Drive SAFE plan was previously introduced in Michigan’s House. The legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House and Senate again.

During the press conference they discussed the importance of why these bills would let any resident under specific age requirements prove Michigan residency and obtain a state identification card, or apply for a driver’s license.

Those attending the virtual press conference today were waiting to introduce them recently to the House to get bipartisan support.

The bills would give state ID to 100,000 immigrants and undocumented immigrants.

Sponsors of the bills include State Senators Stephanie Chang, Winnie Brinks; State Representatives Padma Kuppa, and State Representative Rachel Hood.

“Immigrants touch all sects of our economy, hospitality health care, entrepreneurs and business owners who offer so much to the state,” Representative Rachel Hood said.

“They want to get to college, they want to get to the grocery stores,” Kuppa who represents Clawson and Troy stated, “but they don’t have the means of getting there.”

Kuppa stated during the virtual press conference 16 states including Puerto Rico already have passed bills regarding driver’s licenses for their immigrant and undocumented immigrant communities.

Ever since 2008 immigrants and undocumented immigrants have not been able to obtain a state ID.

“Immigrants are parents, essential workers, caregivers, and they need to participate in our state’s economy completely,” Kuppa said.

Sainavya Upparapalle, an immigrant and 12th grader at Troy High School, discussed her support for the new bills.

“I’ve done all of my education here, and we applied for a visa in 2016 its been so hard for us,” Upparapalle said. ” The renewal of my license came up, and that means my license isn’t valid and I can’t go to school my AP exams are coming up, and I can’t go to school to take the exams in-person because I’m not allowed to drive to physically drive to school.”

Community members attended the virtual press conference including immigrant rights groups, unions, religious organizations, other faith leaders who spoke via zoom–Including Edith Martinez, members of Michigan’s immigrant community. Ted Nelson, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) Rob Steffens, Steffens Orchards, Tom Hickson, Catholic Conference, and other faith community leaders.

“When police stop cars they need to know who they’re talking to,” said Ted Nelson, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), “it’s much better if they look at registered licenses and identify people and make their lives easier as well.”

The Drive SAFE plan would help immigrants, their families, and the entire community with road safety, boost state revenue and provide identification to those in need.

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