(WLNS) LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan House and Senate discussed bills called the Drive SAFE (Security, Access, Freedom and Economy) plan, also known as 433 and 434. during a virtual press conference.
These pieces of legislation will restore driver’s licenses for immigrants to the state of Michigan.
The Drive SAFE plan has already been introduced in the Michigan home. The bill was re-introduced in the Michigan House and Senate.
During the press conference, they discussed the importance of the reasons why these bills would allow any resident under the required age to prove their residency in Michigan and obtain a d state identity or apply for a driver’s license.
Those attending today’s virtual press conference were waiting to introduce them recently to the House to gain bipartisan support.
The bills would give 100,000 immigrants and undocumented migrants state identification.
Sponsors of the bills include State Senators Stephanie Chang, Winnie Brinks; State Representatives Padma Kuppa and State Representative Rachel Hood.
âImmigrants touch every sect of our economy, from the healthcare to the hotel industry, to the entrepreneurs and the business owners who give so much to the state,â said Representative Rachel Hood.
âThey want to go to college, they want to go to the grocery stores,â said Kuppa, who represents Clawson and Troy, âbut they can’t afford to go there.â
Kuppa told the virtual press conference that 16 states, including Puerto Rico, have already passed driver licensing bills for their immigrant and undocumented immigrant communities.
Since 2008, immigrants and undocumented migrants have not been able to obtain state identity documents.
âImmigrants are parents, essential workers, caregivers, and they must participate fully in the economy of our state,â said Kuppa.
Sainavya Upparapalle, an immigrant and 12th grade student at Troy High School, discussed her support for the new bills.
âI did all of my education here and we applied for a visa in 2016, it was so difficult for us,â Upparapalle said. âThe renewal of my license has arrived, and it means my license is not valid and I cannot go to school my AP exams are coming, and I cannot go to school to take the exams in person because I am not allowed to drive physically to school.
Community members attended the virtual press conference, including immigrant rights groups, labor unions, religious organizations and other religious leaders who spoke via zoom, including Edith Martinez, members from the Michigan immigrant community. Ted Nelson, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) Rob Steffens, Steffens Orchards, Tom Hickson, Catholic Conference, and other faith community leaders.
âWhen police stop cars, they need to know who they are talking to,â said Ted Nelson, of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), âit’s much better if they look at the registered permits and identify the people. and also make their lives easier. “
The Drive SAFE plan would help immigrants, their families and the wider community to keep the roads safe, increase state revenues, and provide identification to those in need.