Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s statement in support of giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses has received pushback from several Michigan Republican lawmakers.
During a July Democratic debate in Detroit, Whitmer expressed support for Driver’s Licenses for All, a campaign that promotes access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. In an interview with activist group Movimiento Cosecha Michigan, Whitmer said that “we need to ensure that everyone’s got a path to get a license so that they’ve got identification.”
Several Michigan Republican lawmakers have spoken out against Whitmer’s stance, with some pointing out that she voted against issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in Michigan while she was a state senator in 2008.
The Michigan Senate GOP released a statement on Twitter, saying that “Governor Whitmer should listen to Senator Whitmer.”
In 2008, then-Senator Gretchen Whitmer and every member of the Michigan Senate voted against issuing driver's licenses to anyone in our state illegally. Governor Whitmer should listen to Senator Whitmer. https://t.co/gVOoDnM3np
— MI Senate GOP (@MISenate) August 2, 2019
State Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) also spoke up about Whitmer’s stance.
“I stand with Senator Gretchen Whitmer, who voted against issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants in 2008,” he tweeted.
— Sen. Mike Shirkey (@SenMikeShirkey) August 2, 2019
Although Shirkey was not available to comment, the Michigan Senate GOP retweeted the statement.
Members of the Michigan House of Representatives also criticized Whitmer’s statement.
State Rep. Doug Wozniak (R-Macomb) said Whitmer’s policy would be against state law and that he would fight any legislation proposing the change.
“Issuing a driver’s license to illegal immigrants legitimizes illegal immigration and devalues American citizenship,” Wozniak said in a statement. “It threatens the sovereignty of our state and nation if we reward those who break the law by living here illegally. The governor should be concerned with the real issues faced by our constituents instead of worrying about illegal immigrants being issued a driver’s license.”
Wozniak also noted that issuing illegal immigrants driver’s licenses could lead to increased voter fraud.
Rep. Andrea Schroeder (R-Oakland) told The Michigan Star that she shares Wozniak’s concerns.
“Issuing illegal immigrants driver’s licenses would legitimize illegal immigration, devalue American citizenship, and can lead to an increase in voter fraud,” Schroeder said. “I would prefer to see us work on passing a fiscally responsible budget that helps the citizens and businesses of Michigan continue to thrive.”
Other contacted representatives were unable to provide comment.
Read more about the original statement here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter for Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected].