Michiganders protest at Capitol for drivers licenses for undocumented people


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Today dozens of michiganders are fighting for state legislators to reinstate drivers licenses for undocumented people. 

People from all over the state are at the Capitol, hoping to have their voices heard. 

So why exactly do protesters say today is a new milestone?

It’s been 13 years since undocumented people have been able to drive without fear, and for the first time today, they’ll have the chance to testify in front of the Michigan House Rules and Competitiveness Committee; to share why they believe this right should be restored.

Movimiento Cosecha is a nationwide movement fighting for immigrants’ rights. The movement has chapters across the state, and Michiganders from Ann Arbor, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids all came to participate in today’s protest.

The hearing is happening at noon and the specific legislation they’ll be discussing are known as the Drive SAFE bills that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. 

“The state of Michigan has been benefitting from undocumented especially during the pandemic… we were forced to be out there for the benefit of everyone else. What we’re saying is the benefit of our labor it has to come with some reciprocity from the state at least so that we can drive without fear. 

Gema Lowe, Organizer for Movimiento Cosecha

The outcome protesters are hoping for doesn’t come without controversy, many Republicans feel the ability to obtain a driver’s license should only be reserved for people with legal residency.

Prior to 2008, any Michigan resident regardless of legal status was eligible for a driver’s license.

People in the movement say they’re encouraged by what’s happened in New Jersey in the last few years.

Currently, 16 states allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, and they’re hoping Michigan can be the next.

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