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Protesters rally for removing immigration restrictions on driver's licenses

A Michigan driver's license
Michigan Radio
A Michigan driver's license

Dozens of protesters gathered Wednesday at the state Capitol demanding legislators pass bills to expand who can get driver’s licenses in Michigan.

Bills have been reintroduced to ensure all Michiganders can obtain a state ID or driver’s license regardless of their immigration status.

Adja Ndoye, a program manager for the African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs, said she was undocumented for 10 years and wasn’t eligible to get a license during that time.

“I couldn't even find job. But that was you know, like far away. So I had to sell just sometimes some stuff in front of my house, because I couldn't go anywhere. So it definitely limits your movement," Ndoye said.

Currently only immigrants who can prove they entered the U.S. legally and can work in the country are eligible for a driver’s license or ID in the state.

“This is an issue of human dignity. This is an issue of identifying yourself," said Adonis Flores, the organizing director for Michigan United, the group behind the protest. "When everyone is able to get an ID, the police and law enforcement are better able to identify who is on the road.”

In 2008, Michigan lawmakers passed a legislation prohibiting undocumented immigrants from being able to obtain a state ID or driver’s license.

The new legislation would reverse that.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure committee and the House Committee on Regulatory Reform.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.
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