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COPAL MN launches 45-day campaign for 'Driver's Licenses for All' legislation

The legislation is part of an ongoing effort to help pass a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses in Minnesota.

ST PAUL, Minn. — With the 2022 election season in the rearview mirror, Ryan Perez with COPAL MN says the organization saw a number of issues affecting Latino communities in the state. 

"It's education, it's health care," said Perez.

And "driver's licenses for all." 

"It's one of the top issues motivating Latino communities across the state," he said.

After years of failed legislation, the organization is now launching a 45-day campaign to help pass a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, with the help of a DFL majority in the state legislature.

"We believe this is the first real window that has opened up to change this policy," said Perez.

Until 2003, residents of Minnesota did not have to provide proof of legal residence to get a driver's license.

"We've lived for 20 years where the driver's license is a citizenship document for no good reason when it should just be a document that tells you when you can drive," he said.

Perez says while he's optimistic the legislation will make it through the upcoming session, he says it could be a game-changer for families who rely on reliable transportation.

"For so many in central Minnesota, where our community is quickly, and rapidly, growing, there is no other option than to drive," he said. "You may not be undocumented, but you have family members who you are reliant for income, and they are not able to get around, safely and securely, in a vehicle that is registered."

The organization says it's hopeful the "Driver's Licenses for All" legislation will pass within the first 45 days of the new session.

A "Day of Action" rally is being held at the Capitol on Jan. 3.

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