I wrote this letter to my state senator.
I am writing to express my concern regarding lines 23.4 – 23.6 of SF166, 3rd Engrossment:
“The grant of expedited rulemaking under this section does not authorize the commissioner of public safety to adopt rules or amend existing Minnesota Rules regarding the necessary documentation required to obtain any license, permit, or card from the department.”
One of the Minnesota Rules requires that a drivers license applicant present documentation of “lawful status”.
This Pawlenty-era legacy means that undocumented aliens cannot get drivers licenses.
This rule is not only unjust, but it also is a threat to public safety.
Drivers licenses are the gateway to receiving services that protect public safety and health of all of us, documented and otherwise.
To get a drivers license, one must pass the test to ensure that they know and can practice safe driving, directly impacting our safety.
With a license, they can buy car insurance, reducing others’ cost of uninsured motorists insurance.
Identification is the gateway to interacting with the police to report crime or crises.
Identification is the gateway to seeking medical treatment for life-threatening conditions or infectious diseases.
Even undocumented individuals pay taxes, spend money for services, and are integral to our communities.
Why must we criminalize them by forcing them to drive without licenses?
How is it just to charge them with the crime of driving without a license that we would not let them obtain?
How is it just to make them more vulnerable to discovery and deportation by ICE?
How is it just to let risk of deportation force them even deeper into the shadows and make them even more vulnerable to exploitation by those who threaten to reveal them?
Where is the humanity in this policy?
Of course, my deeper concern is HF 3, which would codify this dangerous Minnesota Rule into law.
This rule is not even necessary to implement REAL ID, because only REAL ID compliant licenses would require this documentation, yet the rule applies to all license applications, not only to applications for compliant ones.
My concern about lines 23.4 – 23.6 of SF166, 3rd Engrossment is that it leaves open the possibility that, in conference, the House codification of this Rule would survive.
I understand the perceived need for REAL ID.
I understand that rulemaking can take a lot of time and that some legislators believe that the Minnesota Rules should be changed through legislation (notwithstanding the fact that this rule was NOT made in response to legislation).
I understand that implementing REAL ID will take a long time, and that time is supposedly running out.
But I do not believe that these reasons are sufficient to justify dehumanizing members of our community.
The better way would be to keep this language out of the bill, or not to pass a form containing this language.