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Movimiento Cosecha action targets Senator Winnie Brinks in Lansing around Driver’s Licenses

March 23, 2023

On Thursday about 10 members of Movimiento Cosecha Michigan went to the Lansing State Capitol, to continue their push to win Driver’s Licenses for All.

The Cosecha activists were all wearing sashes that said “15 years without Driver’s Licenses.” The sashes went with a quinceañera theme, where families celebrate the 15th year of their daughter. Cosecha was using the quinceañera theme to make a point about the fact that undocumented immigrants have not been able to obtain Driver’s Licenses for 15 years. They were also saying that there has been a 15 year period where the children of immigrant families may have endured trauma, because a family member was detained by police for not having a Driver’s License, which often led to ICE taking them to a detention facility and possibly deporting them.

In a Press Release sent out by Cosecha Michigan, it read in part: 

“We are here because Sen. Brinks has introduced the Licenses for All bill in the past but it has never gone anywhere. Now that Senator Brinks is the majority leader, we here constituents are demanding that she prioritize and pass the bill right away. Fifteen years driving with the constant fear of being stopped by police is too much, 2023 is the year to finally change this” said Gabby, an immigrant organizer with Cosecha Michigan. 

“Michigan cannot be falling behind the rest of the country,” Gabby continued, “because our state is already benefiting from the labor of undocumented workers. In the time of the pandemic we were classified as essential workers but without any benefit. With the new Democratic majority in the state legislature, now is the time to finally follow through on the promises to support immigrant workers and families in our state.”

While the Cosecha Michigan activists were in the office of Senator Brinks, there were two staff people they interacted with. When asked about how the Senator’s staff responded to their presence, they said that “it felt as if we were an inconvenience.” Another person thought that the staff was “condescending” towards them. One would think that as people who have been directly affected by not being able to obtain a Driver’s License, which puts them and their families at risk, the Senator’s staff would have responded with, “Please come in and have a seat. How can we assist you or be supportive of your struggle.” Unfortunately, that was not the case.

After Cosecha Michigan activists read statements in Spanish and in English, they left the 15 years without a Driver’s License quinceañer doll with Senator Brinks, as a reminder of the urgency with which they are demanding that Driver’s Licenses for All now!

As the Cosecha Michigan activists were heading outdoors to talk about what happened and to speak with someone from the Lansing News Media, I couldn’t help but think about how quickly the Democrats were able to repeal the Right to Work law that was put in place in 2012, by then Governor Rick Snyder. I certainly think that repealing Right to Work was a good thing, since it was an attack against labor unions and working families in general. However, one fundamental difference with undocumented immigrants not being able to obtain a Driver’s License, their lives are literally at risk of being arrested, detained and possibly deported. Being detained and deported means family separation, which is a greater consequence than what the Right to Work law imposed on workers. The question is, will the Democrats make passing a Driver’s Licenses for All bill as quickly as they did the repeal of Right to Work or not. Time will tell, and it will tell us something potentially about which lives the Democrats value more. 

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