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My Letter to the GR City Commission in support of a Driver’s Licenses for All Resolution

March 17, 2020

Today, the Grand Rapids City Commission will be voting on a “resolution urging the Michigan Legislature to amend state law to allow qualified undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. If you support Driver’s Licenses for All, please send a letter to the Grand Rapids City Clerk ( before 5pm today (Tuesday, March 17) and include as your E-mail heading “Committee of the Whole item 3.”

Grand Rapids City Commissioners and Mayor Bliss

For the past three years I have been working with Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE on immigrant justice issues. A great deal of this work has been to resist the very real harm being done to the undocumented/under-documented community, harm in the form of arrest, detention and often deportation.

In addition, most of the ICE arrests have targeted the primary income earners within immigrant families, thus leaving these families faced with an extremely insecure economic future. Add to this reality is the fact that having a family member arrested, detained or deported by ICE, also causes significant trauma, especially for children. The effects of the ICE-induced trauma on immigrant families is something that many of us have seen directly, but one of the things we know about trauma is that it will continue to impact these families for years to come.

Another major aspect of the work of Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE, is to center the lived experience of the undocumented/under-documented community. This is exactly why Movimiento Cosecha GR is an immigrant-led movement, which has been hearing for at least the last 2 years that getting driver’s licenses for undocumented/under-documented immigrants has been the number one priority.

We also know that one of the main ways that undocumented/under-documented immigrants end up in ICE custody is because they have been stopped by local law enforcement for something like a faulty tail light. Once members of the undocumented/under-documented community are stopped by local cops, they either ended up in the Kent County Jail or get a citation to appear in court. In both cases, ICE is notified and undocumented/under-documented immigrants are then being detained by ICE.

Therefore, if the City of Grand Rapids is committed to supporting the undocumented/under-documented community and reducing the amount of ICE violence, then it is urgent that the City adopt a resolution in support of Driver’s Licenses for All.

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