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Bloomington urges Indiana general assembly to allow undocumented Hoosiers to drive

Since 2019, Bloomington as well as 13 other cities support the effort to give those individuals driving privileges
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Posted at 7:20 PM, Jun 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-13 19:20:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bloomington has passed a resolution urging state lawmakers to let undocumented Hoosiers obtain driving cards.

According to the Indiana Latino Institute, there are over 100 thousand undocumented Hoosiers living in the state of Indiana.

Since 2019, there's been an effort to give those individuals driving privileges. The City of Bloomington and 13 other cities support this effort.

"It will make our community feel safe to an extent, make them feel like they belong. They will be able to drive without fear of getting pulled over by law enforcement, " Josefa Madriga the Bloomington Mayor’s Chief of Staff said.

Currently in Indiana undocumented residents can’t drive legally,
which creates barriers for people looking to create a better life, according to the Indiana Latino Institute.

"Many of them they are not able to even just go to college campuses with their families to look for opportunities to attend higher education institutions,” Marlene Dotson the CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute said. “Some parents, mothers that need to go to the hospital don't have a drivers license so they live with fear and aren't able to do that. "

So far, 18 other states have passed legislation allowing driving cards for undocumented immigrants.

In the last legislative session, Senate Bill 248 would have allowed for undocumented Hoosiers to drive, but it didn't pass. The city of Bloomington feels many people have misconceptions about what the legislation would do.

"It's a driving card which is a card to drive. They are not going to be able to vote or claim citizenship or access federal assistance through just using this card, " Madriga said.

While advocates say this legislation will give undocumented Hoosiers dignity, they feel it will also help the economy.

"It's supporting our state, it's lifting our state, our economy will be strong," Dotson said.

Law enforcement groups, Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Insurance Institute of Indiana all support the driving card legislation.

Those who oppose the bill have said they don't support it because they feel it's unfair to immigrants who haven't went through the process to obtain citizenship.

For more information about Bloomington’s resolution click here.