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Statehouse rally urges lawmakers to pass bill allowing undocumented Hoosiers to legally drive

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Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 19, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — There is a push to allow undocumented immigrants to legally drive on the roads.

On Thursday, the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus rallied to encourage lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 248.

The motto was "driving without fear." If the bill passes, around 100,000 undocumented Hoosiers will be able to get a drivers license. It's something members of the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus say is vital for families.

"Sí se puede. Sí se puede," chanted Hoosiers. It's a Spanish chant meaning yes you can.

"You should be able to drive to school, to work, to home, to the doctor, to the grocery store, everywhere you need to go without fear," said Senator Andrea Hunley.

Two Republicans and a Democrat authored the bill with support from the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus and other senators.

If passed, undocumented Hoosiers could apply for a driving privilege card.

The cards could not be used as identification for any state or federal purpose other than driving, voting or to verify employment.

The bill also points out that 18 other states and Washington D.C. allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver's license.

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"On behalf of your state senators, I want you to know that we see you, we hear you and we stand with you. We believe that you deserve to drive without fear," said Hunley.

Fear is what Maricela Reyes says goes through her mind and many others when driving.

She is a social worker and has family members that are undocumented.

Reyes sees first hand the challenges many face when it comes to getting to and from appointments.

"A Hoosier with a name. We are Hoosiers. Undocumented immigrants are Hoosiers. Give us the opportunity to have that," said Reyes.

Reyes and State Rep. Mike Andrade say the cards shouldn't be a privilege.

"It's more of a human right. Immigrants pay. In 2018, they paid $151 in federal taxes and in state and local taxes, yet they cant drive on the roads — something they pay for. I just don't see how that makes sense," said Reyes.

"Together we can have success because the Hispanic communities [and] the immigrant communities contribute to the prosperity of the state," said Rep. Andrade.

The bill has been assigned to the senate committee on homeland security and transportation.

It's still awaiting its first reading.