I’m glad to bring you this good news about driver’s license access in Michigan, courtesy of Anna Campbell, National Network Coordinator for LIRS’s Access to Justice unit. Hats off to mittens!
For those of you who’ve never heard the words “Mitten State,” it’s a reference to the shape of my beloved Michigan, and possibly to the state’s sub-Arctic temperatures. Today, I want to offer a shout-out to Michigan’s incredible immigrant and refugee advocates, who recently scored a huge victory.
The big win is this: Michigan’s secretary of state will grant driver’s licenses to qualifying immigrants. Having spent far too many hours of my life in various Michigan offices connected with the secretary of state, educating their employees on documentation issues for immigrants, I can’t tell you how excited I was to read the Michigan headlines.
I got the good news from Ryan Bates, a phenomenal advocate in Michigan. The secretary of state’s about-face is such a testament to the work of local advocacy groups like the one he directs, the Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform – Michigan (AIR). They deserve a huge round of applause from all of us who care about and stand with immigrants and refugees.
AIR and its allies continue to be in step with LIRS’s advocacy on enforcement. Going forward, I hope LIRS’s Access to Justice unit can find new ways to be an ally to the kind of savvy state-level organizing that the Michigan crowd is modeling for everyone.
By no means does this “fix” completely solve the problems that Michigan residents face, but it’s a step in the right direction for the state and the young people who call it home. Congratulations, AIR and allies, and cheers to a win in the Mitten State!
Image credit: MonkeyWrench32