Kzoo urged to back licenses for undocumented immigrants

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Protesters at the Monday evening Kalamazoo City Commission meeting demanded support for a policy that would allow immigrants living in the country illegally to apply for a Michigan driver’s license.

Crowds packed City Hall to call on commissioners to pass a resolution at the next meeting in support of the proposal.

Catalina Adorno with the immigrant rights group Movimiento Cosecha hopes protesting at cities throughout the state will lead to a change in Michigan law.

“The state has to do it but the cities can also put pressure on the state to make sure that this happens,” Adorno said.

Commissioners spoke favorably of the idea but at the end of the meeting, it was still unclear if a resolution would be introduced.

Commissioner Don Cooney said immigration policy is not just a federal issue.

“All of us see the atrocities that are being committed at the border but you remind us that it’s not just at the border, that it’s right here in our community,” Cooney said.

Movimiento Cosecha pledged to continue the protests until cities like Kalamazoo show their support for its proposed resolution.

“If it doesn’t happen then, we’re still going to be here and if anything, we’re going to be putting even more pressure so that the city actually keeps to its word,” Adorno said.

Adorno said not having a driver’s license puts undocumented immigrants in an unfair position.

“A lot of the times what may seem like small or minor traffic stops for people who don’t have a driver’s license, who don’t have legal status, what can happen is it just becomes an entry point to a much longer process which may include detention, deportation,” Adorno said.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for July 15.

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