Michigan Legislature Considers New Requirements for Immigrant IDs

On Tuesday, revisions were made to two controversial bills proposed by Michigan legislature. The bills, which focused on driver’s licenses and state ID’s for immigrants, came under fire for suggesting that licenses should be “visually marked indicating that it is issued for a term that expires on the date the licensee is no longer considered to be legally present in the United States.” The controversial phrase has already been removed, as immigration advocates argued that the bill could result in profiling. Without the recent revisions, the bill would have likely resulted in each license having an “expiration date” for the individual’s immigration status.

The bills were first introduced last month, by two Republican state representatives of Michigan. The modified bill now states clearly that the bill will affect only those with temporary lawful status, not those who have obtained a permanent status. The modified bills were approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, sending them to the House floor for votes.
The modifications now mean that the bills comply with federal requirements for the Real ID program. The original bills had advocates voicing many concerns. Because an immigrant’s status may be renewed while federal computer systems process the renewals, sometimes immigrants may be in legal standing but temporarily without any physical proof. The unclear language of the previously proposed legislation would have made these immigrants more susceptible to profiling or being detained by police. Now, driver’s licenses for those here temporarily will be marked with an “LT,” to suggest limited term, but no other markers or potentially misleading information will be present.

State Representative Triston Cole supports the bill with its changes, stating that the main goal of the bills was to comply with the REAL ID act, which was passed by Congress in 2005. “This really streamlines the process and makes it easier for everyone,” Cole said.
It should be noted that a separate bill regarding immigrant identification was introduced last year by two House Democrats. The bill, strongly opposed by Republicans, aims to help undocumented immigrants obtain driver’s licenses. As a result of its opposition, it has since been stuck in committee.

Source: Detroit Free Press