Who Are We?
Freedom to Drive MN is a statewide coalition of non-profit organizations, unions, immigrants’ rights advocates, community-based groups and collectives, faith-based organizations, workers’ rights advocates and businesses led by the Multiracial Coalition on Immigration.
The Freedom to Drive MN campaign is committed to passing a state law allowing all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status, to obtain driver’s licenses.
The United States of America presupposes the value of freedom and opportunity. By allowing ALL Minnesotans to have access to driver’s licenses, Minnesota moves toward making these promises a reality.
How would it work?
Standard driver’s licenses would be distinctively marked as required under federal law and would not be valid for REAL ID purposes. Issuing these licenses would not only benefit Minnesotans without access to an immigration process, but also those experiencing homelessness, the elderly, and other groups who may have difficulty obtaining hard-to-access documentation.
Our vision drives Minnesota forward by improving public safety for everyone, growing the state economy and promoting community building for all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status.
According to the PEW Research Center (2016), there are approximately 95,000 Minnesotans without a pathway to citizenship. That means these community members do not have access to driver’s licenses in the state. Additionally, thousands of community members with temporary immigration relief (DACA, TPS, DED, etc.) lose their driver’s licenses if and when the federal government terminates these relief programs.
All of us have the right to live in a safe and sustaining community. Minnesotans are safer when more of the drivers on our roads are trained, tested, licensed, and insured. That’s why we have strong education and training requirements for new drivers. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have all implemented similar driver’s licenses for all While immigration is mainly a federal policy issue, it impacts people locally. Many of us have friends and family members who face barriers to getting driver’s licenses. Accessing driver’s licenses is necessary for them to continue to contribute to our state. They live, work, go to school, and drive here.
Increasing the number of licensed drivers improves our economy. Driving is a necessity for most families, not a choice. Expanding access to licenses would help parents attend parent-teacher conferences, families go to church, and workers commute to their jobs. Undocumented immigrants are already a part of Minnesota’s economy and communities, with many living in mixed status families. Access to licenses would not only help the individual undocumented immigrant, but it would also help their relatives and other community members.
People always strive to make life better for themselves and their families. Access to driver's licenses supports building communities that are stronger economically and more inclusive socially and culturally. Access to driver’s licenses for immigrants is key to a healthy community. It allows economic mobility, encourages involvement in civic life, fosters a sense of belonging, and increases interconnectedness and commitment to our state.