Advocates push for Drive SAFE Bills in Michigan

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Thousands of Michigan immigrants are unable to legally get behind the wheel after having their licenses’ revoked back in 2008 and local advocates are demanding change. They’re urging Michigan lawmakers to pass Drive SAFE Bills.

“Our community is tired of being left behind,” said Navarrete.

“It’s important for everybody to have some sort of identification,” said Vail.

Diego Navarrete said Michigan used to be one of eight states that allowed people to have a driver’s license or state I.D. regardless of their legal status, but in 2008 that changed.

“Essentially overnight, in a matter of nine days stripping away this right that immigrant folks had. Bringing a lot of suffering,” said Navarrete.

Suffering Navarrete saw first hand. He grew up undocumented and remembers when his parents licenses taken away.

The thought of them being deported or separated from me and my siblings just for taking us to school, taking us to the park, our lives became lot more insular,” said Navarrete.

Now he’s fighting for Drive SAFE Bills to pass, which would allow immigrants to get their licenses restored.

“I think the work that we do is allowing folks to discover their voice and use that voice to effect change,” said Vail.

Demaris Vail is one of the few people in her family with license and said it comes with a lot of responsibility.

“I’ve always been the main person to be responsible for them,” said Vail.

Not everyone supports giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. News Ten spoke with republican Aric Nesbitt back in May. He said the immigration system needs to be fixed.

“Fix our borders that are there, and actually enforce immigration laws,” said Nesbitt.

A debate taking place at the capitol, and on roads across the state.

“I fight for myself as an undocumented person and I also fight for my family,” said Navarrete.

If the Drive SAFE Bill passes, immigrants and migrants will be able to get a state I.D or driver’s license with proof of identity and residency in the state.

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