Grand Rapids officials made it known Tuesday they believe illegal immigrants in Michigan should be able to obtain a driver’s license.
Grand Rapids City Commissioner Jon O’Connor read a letter aloud at the city’s commission meeting that was signed by the city’s major Rosalynn Bliss and all its commissioners arguing in favor of giving a driver’s license for everyone.This letter read aloud was the same one sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier in the year.
“The city of Grand Rapids aspires to be nationally recognized as an equitable, welcoming, innovative and collaborative city with a robust economy, safe and healthy community, and the opportunity for all for a high quality of life,” O’Connor said.
“We support undocumented immigrants being able to lawfully obtain driver’s licenses and urge you to propose legislation that would allow immigrants to more easily integrate into their communities and benefit all Michiganders,” he continued.
Furthermore, the letter argues allowing illegal immigrants to get Michigan driver’s licenses would improve public safety, provide the state extra revenue and be in the “best interests of Michiganders.”
To end the meeting, the city’s Democratic mayor said driver licenses for illegal immigrants remained a legislative priority.
Many supporters of illegal immigrants getting driver’s licenses in Michigan spoke during the public comment period.
Grands Rapid resident Jose Guadalupe Jimenez told city leaders that allowing illegals to obtain a driver’s license would allow them to do basic day-to-day things like open a bank account, enroll in school and fly within the country.
“Immigrants make our communities better and more diverse. They enrich the economy, as well as the community, and they deserve the same opportunities to live their lives and achieve their dreams that the rest of us have,” he said through a translator. “And it starts in Grand Rapids with passing the Licenses For All resolution.”
Another city resident Deidra Cunningham told the city officials that they were an influential board and that their actions spoke loudly to the state legislatures, the governor and the people they represent. She also asked city officials to pass a similar resolution as Kalamazoo County did to show illegal immigrants they are full and equal members of the community.
Kalamazoo County passed a proclamation 8 to 1 last month urging Michigan legislators to allow illegal immigrants to obtain licenses.
This summer Gretchen Whitmer said in an interview that she supports the idea of people not here legally getting a Michigan driver’s license.
In 2008, Michigan passed a state law preventing illegal immigrants from getting a state driver’s license. If Michigan does allow illegal immigrants to obtain a license; it would become the 13th state to do so.
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