“The same thing happened to my husband earlier this year. On March 29th, the day after his birthday, he was stopped by a K-9 police officer when one of the lights on his truck went out.
Because his birthday was just one day earlier, his US license had expired. The police didn’t care that he had an international driver’s license or that he was just waiting for his new license to come. They didn’t even know what an international license was.
Instead of calling for help to figure out the documentation my husband had, they asked him about his immigration status. My husband was honest with them. He told them he was an immigrant. Next thing he knew, he was being thrown in handcuffs and shipped to an ICE detention center.
It took me 24 hours, and the help of the folks at ABISA and Michigan United, before I could locate where my husband was. It took 24 hours for us to find out that he had been detained over two hours away at an ICE facility in Battle Creek.
It would take 20 more days before we could tie all of his information together, see a judge, and have ICE let him go when he finally got his authorization to work and got his license back.
We lost income. My husband was gone for 20 days. We had to get the money together to pay his bond, find legal support. All of this happened because his license expired by one day.
If we had drivers licenses for all in Michigan, this would’ve never happened to my husband. This wouldn’t happen to the thousands of hard working immigrant people in this state.”
“Not only as an attorney, but as the daughter of immigrants, I know for certain that drivers licenses for all means more than the ability to drive. To an immigrant and their family, drivers licenses mean freedom, independence, belonging, and the ability to no longer have to hide in the shadows.
People come to this country and to our beautiful state because they strive for hope, for a better life, and the people of Michigan should be helping in every way we can to make these wonderful people feel welcome.”
-Jenny, Grand Rapids
“I am also an immigrant, and a proud daughter of immigrants, and I know many people who risk their livelihood and ability to live in this state everyday because they don’t have a driver’s license.
But the fact of the matter is that they still have to be able to get to work, to go to the doctor, and to get their groceries.
The fact is that people drive with or without a license because they have no other choice.
I live out in Sparta and as everyone knows, it’s a rural area and there’s a big need to drive from place to place
There is no public transportation system, there are no cabs, and Uber is too expensive to use to get to and from work everyday when you live out in the country. What other choice are the people who live in Sparta, and other rural part of Michigan, going to do?
We need drivers licenses for everybody. It will keep undocumented immigrants safe and keep other Michiganders safe too. Whether that’s properly learning traffic laws or feeling just a little bit safer if a police officer pulls you over for a faulty blinker.”