Michigan Immigrant Rights Center
Legislative Alert: Update on Committee Hearing on Drive SAFE Bills to Reinstate Driver's Licenses for All, Regardless of Immigration Status
Yesterday, September 14, 2021, the Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom, and Economy) bills (Senate Bills 433/434 and House Bills 4835/4836) — a set of bills that would reinstate driver's licenses for Michigan residents regardless of their ability to prove legal presence — were scheduled to be heard in the House Rules and Competitiveness Committee in the Michigan legislature. In 2008, Michigan required applicants for driver's licenses and state identification cards to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status by making “legal presence” a requirement for showing Michigan residency. These bills would reinstate driver's licenses and state identification cards for everyone, regardless of immigration status.
HB 4835 (2021) and HB 4836 (2021) would have had a historic moment if they were heard before the Committee. However, an hour before the hearing we were told that Speaker Wentworth (R) asked for the hearing to be canceled.
We have yet to know why. What we do know is that we have built momentum and strong support from various organizations, businesses, legislators, and community members across the state. MIRC is a proud partner in the Drive Michigan Forward Coalition, a statewide coalition seeking to restore driver's licenses for all, regardless of immigration status. Even though the hearing was cancelled unexpectedly, we need to show Speaker Wentworth that as partners and community members we stand strong in what we believe, and we will be heard. Join the Drive Michigan Forward coalition by doing the following:
- Call Speaker Wentworth at (517) 373-8962. Let him know that you would like answers as to why the hearing for the #DriveSAFE bills (HB 4835 and HB 4836) was cancelled yesterday before the Rules and Competitiveness Committee.
- Take a minute and fill out this form to send a quick email urging Speaker Wentworth to grant the bills a hearing and to support the Drive SAFE Bills.
- Watch the Drive Michigan Forward video filmed shortly after hearing the news and featuring speakers who planned to give testimony, including former Representative Dave Pagel, a Republican co-secondary sponsor to the bills in 2016.
We will continue to advocate for driver's licenses for all, regardless of immigration status. Together we can build a state that provides dignity, security, and a sense of belonging to every Michigander.