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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WILL MICHIGAN DRIVERS LICENSE LAW DRIVE OUT DOCTORS?

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The President of the Michigan State Medical Society is concerned that a new law that limits drivers licenses to green card holders and citizens will cause many MDs to look at locating in other states.

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Comments

  1. Wasn't it fixed?'s Avatar
    I thought the law was fixed so that legal immigrants won't be denied drivers licenses. Doesn't that make the point mute?
  2. JoeF's Avatar
    No, at this point, the fix hasn't passed yet.
    From a link Greg posted earlier:
    "If the two chambers are able to agree on a version of legislation, the resulting new law would reverse a policy enacted in late January that prevents legal immigrants who aren't permanent residents from getting Michigan licenses."

    Note the "If"...
  3. JoeF's Avatar
    Interestingly, this opinion by the Director of Communication in the MI AG office: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080207/OPINION04/802070342/1068/OPINION
    indicates that people on H1 should be able to get MI drivers licenses:
    "The attorney general's opinion mentions that certain immigrants who, by the terms of their admission to this country, are allowed to establish a domicile in the United States, cannot be discriminated against. These individuals must be treated as any other person residing in Michigan."
    In my understanding, people on H1 are allowed to establish a domicile in the US.
  4. L's Avatar
    "As the attorney general's opinion properly notes, a driver's license is more than just a pass to drive a car; it has become a basic form of identification. In light of what occurred on 9/11, when terrorists were able to fraudulently obtain driver's licenses and identification cards, it is critical to get this right. Michigan, with three international bridges and one international tunnel, cannot afford to take this issue lightly."


    People should have some IQ to get into these offices. 9/11 hijackers used liceses as well as they were able to get into commercial jets , would this guy suggest banning commercial aviation till all the loopholes are fixed ?


    Wow , these rigthwing nut jobs should get a life and stop using 9/11 for their political purposes to score points against immigrants whether legal or otherwise.
  5. Kalifornian's Avatar
    I hope these nut case laws that deny driver's license to those legally present , do not come to California.
  6. Limbo's Avatar
    I sure hope a boneheaded law like this never comes to Arizona where I live. I would think they will come to their sense at some point. What about visiting professors, professional athletes, managers in international companies, researchers,... the list goes on. Obviously they are casting the net a little to wide to try and keep people here illegally from getting a D.L.



  7. AD's Avatar
    IMO this illustrates how mind-numbingly complex the immigration system has become. If someone as trained as an Attorney General with the full resources of the office can't frame a workable opinion then it is a lot to expect of officials in the DMV, the media or the general public.

  8. Rana 's Avatar
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit today in Ingham County Circuit Court challenging the Secretary of State's unlawful denial of driver's licenses to thousands of Michigan residents. The Secretary of State, relying on what she calls a flawed Attorney General opinion, has refused to issue a driver's license to countless immigrants working and living in Michigan legally.

    "State law requires that all Michigan residents be eligible for a driver's license," said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan Legal Director. "By wrongfully denying licenses to individuals working and living in our state legally, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General are wreaking havoc on the Michigan economy and hundreds of thousands hard-working, tax-paying Michigan residents."

    The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of six Michigan residents who have permission from the federal government to live and work in the U.S., including: a Canadian nurse who resides in Muskegon; an Indian doctor who treats an underserved population in Flint; a University of Michigan language assessment specialist from Singapore, and a political refugee in Detroit who was granted asylum after being tortured for his political activity in Africa. The ACLU also represents Freedom House, a Detroit organization that aids survivors of persecution from around the world who have been granted asylum in this country.

    "With this policy, the state is sending mixed messages to me and other registered nurses who are moving here from other countries to fill a nursing shortage plaguing Michigan," said Catherine Gates, the lead plaintiff and Canadian citizen living in Muskegon. "Public health nursing frequently requires traveling within a community, however, I am concerned that I will not be able to find a job since this line of work requires a valid Michigan driver's license."

    On Dec. 27, Attorney General Mike Cox issued a formal opinion suggesting that only U.S. citizens and individuals with "green cards" are eligible for a driver's license and not other individuals who live and work in Michigan legally. The opinion contradicts former Attorney General Frank Kelley's formal opinion, which stated that the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code clearly allows all residents to apply for licenses whether they are citizens or not.

    Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, while stating that she believes that the Cox opinion is wrong, contends that she is bound by the opinion. Even though Cox now states that Land has misinterpreted his opinion and that, in fact, all immigrants in this country legally can apply for a license, Land has refused to issue licenses to anyone but U.S. citizens and green card holders.

    "It is important that the Attorney General and Secretary of State realize there are real people at the center of this political showdown," said Pegg Roberts, Freedom House Executive Director. "If the asylum seekers that we represent are to have any hopes of making a new life in our state, they need to be able to travel from place to place just like everyone else."

    The ACLU lawsuit asks the court to order the Secretary of State to resume issuing driver's licenses to all residents, including immigrants who live and work in the state who intend to remain.

    "The Secretary of State and Attorney General's unprecedented interpretation of the Michigan Vehicle Code is erroneous, arbitrary, and without any basis in law," said Andrew Nickelhoff, the ACLU Lead Cooperating Attorney. "Our residents are safer and our law enforcement is more effective when, regardless of status, all drivers have had their vision tested, know the rules of the road and obtain car insurance."

    The plaintiffs are represented by Steinberg; Nickelhoff; ACLU of Michigan Executive Director Kary L. Moss and ACLU Cooperating Attorneys Bryan Waldman and Jocelyn Benson.

    To read the complaint, visit: https://www.aclumich.org/pdf/licensecomplaint.pdf

  9. Sudeep's Avatar
    I came to Michigan for to work on a IT project and didnt know about this law. It has caused untold miseries to my daily life. I wished that i never came to MI.
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