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Indiana Chamber of Commerce prioritizes driving cards for undocumented residents

Indiana Chamber of Commerce prioritizes driving cards

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Getting driving cards into the hands of undocumented immigrants is a priority for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

For the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, one of their top priorities for the new year is driving cards for the thousands of undocumented immigrants in Indiana, among other things.

“It really runs out of a practical matter,” Kevin Brinegar, the president and CEO of Indiana Chamber of Commerce said. “We have undocumented individuals living here, working here, that’s the reality and right now, they can’t get insurance.”

Brinegar says driving cards would make a huge positive impact on the state’s economy.

“You have folks that, if they go through driver’s education better prepared and understand how to operate a car safely, it’ll reduce some disruption in our economy,” said Brinegar.

It’s been more than 15 years since undocumented immigrants lost all opportunities to obtain driver’s licenses in Indiana. In 2007, Indiana passed a law that tied driver’s licenses, permits, and vehicle registrations to citizenship and immigration status.

Mari Luna is an undocumented immigrant. They say not being able to get a driver’s license has brought fear for their self and their family.

“My dad was incarcerated in jail for ten months for driving without a license up in Hamilton County, and then currently, due to backlog, my DACA has now expired,” said Luna.

Luna says the Chamber of Commerce will help make a difference in the statehouse.

“This is definitely going to be a game changer because a lot of politicians, decision-makers, and individuals that just have a stake in business in Indiana look up to the Chamber of Commerce in kind of setting the pathways,” said Luna.

This legislative session Senate Bill 248 did not advance out of the appropriations committee. State Representative Earl Harris says he is committed to bringing change.

“It’s a moving, slow process where we want it to move fast, but we did have some movement, and we’ll continue to build upon that in the 2024 session,” said Harris.