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Indiana House bill would give driver’s cards to undocumented immigrants

Indiana House bill would give driver’s cards to undocumented immigrants

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One group is pushing for Indiana to allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally. They want the state to approve what are known as driver’s cards.

For seven years, supporters have been pushing to get similar bills passed with no luck. Rally organizers said they understand getting a bill like this passed in conservative Indiana is a long shot but they said the time is now to keep trying to push this through.

Rally participants packed the state House’ third floor to support House Bill 1083, the latest piece of legislation that aims to give undocumented immigrants a bit more independence. The bill would allow them the opportunity to apply for a drivers card.

“Right now my biggest goal is to educate the public about this issue,” said State Representative Chris Campbell. “There’s a lot of misunderstandings about this issue it can’t be used to vote. It doesn’t provide a pathway to citizenship.”

To qualify for the card, applicants would need a tax ID, pass the written and driving part of the drivers test. Undocumented immigrant would also be able to get car insurance.

“This isn’t something that super bold it’s just been a long time, we just want the privilege to be able to drive without fear,” said Guadalupe Pimental with the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance.

The group is backing the bill and hopes to see if it finally pass.

“It’s a basic human rights need. You know a lot of people take it for granted being able to drive to the store,” said Pimental.

The bill has the support of the Marion County prosecutors office. The prosecutor believes it will hlep police identify who they are stopping. He said it will make the roads safer and help the state’s economy.

“When they go to work when they go to school when they take care of their children go to the grocery store all of those things which contribute to our economy,” said Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears. “But also contribute to a community that works together.”

Fourteen other states, including Illinois have similar driving privileges in place.

There’s no timeline yet on when the bill will go up for a vote. However if it does it could go into effect by July of this year.

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“Vaping poses significant health concerns, and it’s intended only as an alternative to smoking tobacco,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “Young Hoosiers need to be aware of these risks. We must encourage them to avoid these products, which should only be aimed at adults who want to quit smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

The National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted in 2019, found over 5 million young people reported using e-cigarettes within the past month, which was up from 3.6 million the prior year. 

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