Drive SAFE Bills Would Let More Than 100,000 Immigrants Apply For A MI Driver’s License

May 13, 2021

A set of bills aimed at restoring driver's licenses for immigrants in Michigan was reintroduced this week in the state legislature.

If passed, the Drive SAFE plan (Safety, Access, Freedom, and the Economy) would allow more than 100,000 immigrants, including those who are undocumented, to apply for a driver’s license in Michigan.

Bill sponsor and Democratic state Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) said during a virtual press conference Tuesday that 15 states across the country have already passed similar legislation.

“Because immigrants are business owners, they are parents, they are professionals," she said. "They're essential workers and caregivers. Allowing them access to a driver's license means that they can fulfill their responsibilities.”

Democratic state Representative Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) is also a bill sponsor. She says current laws prevent even some immigrants with legal status from obtaining a license.

“Being able to get a driver's license or a state ID shouldn't be one of the challenges that endures for these hardworking, dedicated, and passionate people,” Hood said.

In 2008, the state passed legislation barring residents without legal status from being able to receive a driver's license or a personal ID card.