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Bloomington passes resolution supporting driver cards for undocumented immigrants

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Bloomington City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting a proposal allowing undocumented immigrants to have driver cards. The cards could be used by immigrants to drive to work and the store.

A bipartisan bill that would have made the proposal law failed to pass the legislature earlier this year. It had the support of the business community.

“From poultry to the RV industry up in northern Indiana because they recognize it’s also important,” said Mari Cruz Luna, with Cosecha Indiana, a non-violent movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Another group, La Voz Unida has been traveling the state urging communities to support the driver card program.

“We’ve met thousand and thousands of families, particularly mothers, who are being pulled over by law enforcement and being handcuffed in front of their children, and being taken to jail, simply because they don’t have a document and they are driving,” La Voz Unida Spokesperson Ed Rodriguez said during the Bloomington City Council meeting Wednesday.

Under the law, undocumented immigrants with this card would not be able to vote or receive federal benefits. Applicants would be required pass a written driver’s test at the BMV to obtain a card, and the program would not be a pathway for citizenship.

Proponents say driver cards would cut down on hit and run accidents, and reduce insurance premiums for licensed drivers.

“We’re seeing it happen right now in Florida, where they intended to expel a lot of the immigrant communities, and are just now realizing they need the immigrant community for their labor out there,” said Luna.

Lawmakers who objected to the bill earlier this year said it’s unfair toward immigrants who came to the U.S. and worked to get their citizenship. Others said that driving is a privilege, not a right.