On October 31, 2019, Senate Bill 0631 and 0632 and House Bills 5192 and 5193 were introduced and are sponsored by Sens. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, in the Senate and Reps. Alex Garza, D-Taylor, and Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, in the House. Both bills are supported by Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary. We encourage you to attend any future hearing and to take a moment to contact your elected officials to express your support.
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The bills would make noncommercial Michigan driver’s licenses and state identification cards available to applicants who do not have proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status. The bills eliminate the “legal presence” requirement for proving Michigan residency and they would specify types of documentation allowable for proving Michigan residency and identity for the new category of documents.
The bills would have a broad positive impact. They would
- Allow citizens and currently, eligible immigrants who lack the documentation required by the Secretary of State, to get licenses and state identification cards.
- Widen the insurance pool and lower costs for all Michigan residents due to unlicensed and uninsured drivers submitting fewer claims.
- Promote public safety by ensuring that drivers are trained, screened and tested; law enforcement will be able to more efficiently and effectively identify individuals they stop.
- Increase workforce and economic participation by making it easier for individuals to travel to work, go to the grocery store or doctor, rent an apartment, access health care, purchase insurance, etc.
- Increase state revenue through vehicle registration and taxes on insurance premiums and car purchases.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws that provide access to a driver’s license or identification, regardless of immigration status.