WVPE reports that Elkhart’s resolution supporting driver’s licenses for undocumented residents passed the city council by a 6-2 vote. Goshen’s resolution, meanwhile, passed by a unanimous 6-0 vote last month.
“I was amazed at the extent of the support I’ve been getting,” state Sen. Blake Doriot, a Republican cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation, tells The Goshen News. “I’ve got a lot of support from the Hispanic/Latino community. I get a lot of support from the industrialists. I get a lot of support from commercial people. I got support from the insurance industry. I’ve got support from the prosecutors. I have support from several police departments.”
That's because its only common sense to ensure that everyone on the road is there legally, and insured. But despite SB 200’s bipartisan support, the bill failed to get a hearing in the Indiana House of Representatives Roads and Transportation Committee, WRTV reported in February. This means the proposal—and the state’s undocumented residents—will likely have to wait another year for it to be considered.
The outlet reports that advocates in the state held a quinceañera after lawmakers failed to advance the bill. This is a traditional celebration to mark a teen girl’s 15th birthday. In this case, it was to mark the 15 years since the state passed legislation blocking undocumented people from licenses, advocates said.
"We experienced further, more strict, reasons for detention and reasons for incarceration,” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient Wendy Catalan Ruano said in the report. “And so when an undocumented person is pulled over and they don't have a driver's license, this is another pipeline to deportation. It's another pipeline to be incarcerated. We're human; we deserve to be able to drive and not watch our backs when we're on the road."
American Immigration Council says that 100,000 immigrants in the state lack legal status, with National Immigration Forum saying that 60% of these immigrants have lived in the state for at least a decade. Nearly 55,000 U.S. citizen children live with at least one person lacking legal status. "Our community has been driving in fear," Movimiento Cosecha organizer Mari Luna told WRTV. "It's a basic necessity that our community needs, and it's not a privilege."
Massachusetts lawmakers recently overrode Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation opening driver’s licenses to undocumented residents. Despite the law not actually going into effect for another year, state Republicans are already seeking to gather enough signatures to get a repeal on November’s ballot. But recent polling has shown support for the law has only increased from earlier in the year.
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