The 2021 Driver’s License for All kickoff this week featured testimony from Minnesotans about the hardships of living life without access to a driver’s license. From being unable to access medical appointments to risking jail, deportation, or separation from loved ones, group members shared the experience of undocumented Minnesotans without a driver’s license across the state.
This meeting comes in hopes that the Minnesota Senate will pass legislation allowing undocumented Minnesotans to acquire a state driver’s license and car insurance. The policy, passed previously in a DFL-controlled Senate and years later by a DFL-controlled House, will be reconsidered by the 2021 Minnesota Senate.
Emphasis was placed on the importance of this bill during the current COVID-19 public health crisis. More than two thirds of undocumented immigrants in Minnesota are essential workers who have been forced to continue attending their jobs during the pandemic. Without access to a driver’s license, those who fear being exposed to others through public transportation or carpooling are left to brave the elements on foot to get to work.
Support for this bill has been provided from many organizations across different fields, including the Minnesota Catholic Church, law enforcement, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Supporters hope that bipartisanship in the Senate will allow this bill to be passed this year. (SF 399)