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There are 18 states that already allow a driver's license for undocumented immigrants. Minnesota is close to being next


The state Assembly gave half sanction to a law that grants permits regardless of legal status. "It will help the state economy and treat migrants with dignity," said a legislator. This is the map of the places where it is already authorized.

Minnesota is closer to passing legislation allowing state driver's licenses to be issued to undocumented people, joining 18 other states and the District of Columbia that already have such a permit, and providing relief to tens of thousands of residents. 

For 20 years, attempts have been made to pass legislation of this type in the state, and activists and promoters agree that now they are closer than ever: the bill was approved this week by the Assembly, with the Democratic vote, and is now expected the debate in the state Senate, where the party also has a majority.

Groups that support this law have said that there are an estimated

81,000 Minnesota residents

who came to the country illegally or overstayed their student or tourist visas.

Some of these families have come before lawmakers and shared their fear of being stopped by the police and deported, their frustrations over not being able to go to work, take the kids to school or get to a doctor's appointment.

Alejandra Chavez Rivas, a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, told one of the legislative hearings that she lost her license when her status in that program was paused while she was in college. 

I was a student, I was a single mother

who took my daughter from Monticello to St. Paul, I also went to the university every day, and [fear] paralyzed me,” Chávez Rivas said.

“I was afraid that they would deport me.

I was afraid of graduating.

I didn't know what the future held for me,” he recounted. 

States across the country have debated laws to grant licenses to undocumented immigrants.

In this photo, families attend a march on the Pennsylvania Capitol in 2021 in support of HB-279, which authorizes parole regardless of immigration status.

SOPA Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

But the so-called Driver's License for All


does not only have the support of immigrant communities or groups that fight for their rights, but also with a

wide swath of business groups from all over the state

, forces law enforcement and security; and agribusiness groups (dairy farms, in particular, are increasingly dependent on immigrant workers).

They agreed that it will boost the economy and improve safety on Minnesota's highways.

“This is not just a bill that will support some immigrants.

This is a common sense policy that is good for all Minnesotans,” Emilia González Ávalos of Unidos Minnesota remarked to the press.

Eighteen states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

, allow residents to obtain driver's licenses, regardless of their immigration status, according to data from The National Conference of State Legislatures.

They issue a permit if the applicant provides certain documentation, such as a foreign birth certificate, foreign passport or consular card, and evidence of current residence in the state.

Licensed states are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. 

The license, by being able to be used as identification and proof of residence, allows families to also access insurance for their vehicles, homes, and other essential issues.

“Pass this law so that parents can legally and safely bring their children without the fear that doing so will tear the family apart,” said Claudia Garcia, of Northfield, another resident who testified for her before the state legislature. .

“It will help us grow the state's economy, and it is very important to treat immigrant communities with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Gonzalez Avalos.

The electoral fraud argument

The law was approved in the state Assembly on January 31 with the support of Democratic legislators (69 votes in favor) and the rejection of Republicans (60 votes against). 

It is a decision that we make for our children, who are children

, so that they do not have to live with that trauma of not knowing if their families are going to be able to take them to an emergency room or pick them up safely from school,” he told the press the representative Maria.

Isa Perez-Vega, a St. Paul Democrat who cosponsored the bill, when it passed the state Assembly. 

Some Republicans expressed support for the general idea of ​​legal driving status for immigrants, but would prefer licenses to carry special labels to distinguish them from regular licenses.

“We are concerned about the possibility of people voting or registering to vote (with the option to do so on the day of voting) once they have a photo ID,” said Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville.

With cheers and tears undocumented immigrants from Massachusetts celebrate that they will be able to have driver's licenses

June 10, 202200:25

Democratic Rep. Aisha Gomez said the Republican Party's voter fraud concerns are at odds with reality.

“A driver's license does not indicate that you are a citizen of this country in Minnesota,” she pointed out. 

The Secretary of State's Office checks voter rolls against the list of non-citizens with driver's licenses to prevent non-citizens from voting.

Additionally, any non-citizen who votes can be charged with a felony and face jail time, deportation and a $100,000 fine.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-02-07

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