Supporters of the Driver's License for All bill preform as the Senate votes to pass the bill. (Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK Press)
The Minnesota Senate passed the Driver’s Licenses or All bill early Wednesday morning, paving the way for undocumented immigrants to obtain Minnesota Driver’s Licenses.
The bill was supported by law enforcement, the attorney general’s office, and dozens of advocacy groups across Minnesota, who say that access to driving classes and taking the driver’s test will make Minnesota roads safer.
“You belong in our beloved community, and it would not be our beloved community without you,” Senator Zaynab Mohamed said. “The practical response, the just response, is to offer undocumented immigrants the opportunity to earn a driver’s license here.”
The passage of the bill marks a significant victory for immigrant communities, who have been organizing to drive legally in the state ever since that right was taken from them by Governor Pawlenty in 2003, when he changed eligibility to require proof of lawful admission into the United States.
Opponents of the bill said that they would not vote in favor of the bill due to the lack of distinguishing features labeling the license as belonging to an undocumented driver. Senate President Bobby Champion said that any distinguishing features would invite discrimination, and drive people away from getting their licenses.
The bill now heads to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s desk; he has previously stated that he will sign it into law.