Bills that would require temporary immigration statuses on Michigan IDs draw mixed reaction

Licenses of noncitizens would be marked


LANSING, Mich. – There could be changes made to the driver’s licenses for many legal immigrants in the state of Michigan.

Michigan House bills will allow a visual marker on the driver’s license that will show current immigration status.

“I feel like you’re being branded as an immigrant. You start to feel not welcomed,” Ali Algahim said.

His parents moved to the United States when he was a little boy.

“My father never got to get the education back home. That’s why he’s always pushing us now. You come here. You make the best of it. Use this opportunity while you have it,” Algahim, 23, said.

The bills call for the driver’s licenses of noncitizens to state when the legal status of the license holder expires and also to be visually marked, indicating they are different from regular licenses.

Susan Reed, with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, has concerns. 

“We were very concerned that these bills would lead to racial profiling,” Reed said.

State Rep. Triston Cole thinks otherwise.

“In fact, I believe this legislation will go along and actually stop that from happening, because law enforcement will know that the state ID card or the driver license coincides with the expiration date of the immigration status,” Cole said.

Meanwhile Algahim has doubts. 

“If I need to prove to you that I’m an immigrant for legal purposes, then that’s fine, but branding it on your ID just makes you feel like a second-class citizen,” Algahim said.

Here are the next steps: The full House will have to vote and then the Senate will have its turn. Finally,if they pass, the bills will head to the governor’s desk. 

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