Push to put driver’s licenses in immigrant hands speeds up

Published 8:07 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

ST. PAUL — Advocates of a push to grant driver’s licenses to people living in the country illegally packed a Minnesota House hearing Wednesday, at times breaking into tears as supporters explained how the change would affect them.

The move has support from a broad coalition of businesses, religious leaders and law enforcement officials who say it will make roads safer as more people take driver’s safety tests and buy car insurance.

But some argue giving licenses to those without legal resident status will make it easier for them to commit voter fraud.

Email newsletter signup

Ana Serrano told the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee that the move would help her parents, who immigrated from Mexico years ago. They rely on her older brother to drive them around Willmar because they can’t legally obtain driver’s licenses.

Rep. Rod Hamilton, who’s carrying a bill to make the change, said he was initially skeptical of the idea. But the Mountain Lake Republican said he’s since realized the public safety impacts the move would have.