Driver’s licenses for all would strengthen Minnesota

Clark Goldenrod
Feb 21, 2023
Minnesota policymakers have an important opportunity in 2023 to expand access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. This policy would recognize and support the contributions of immigrants who call Minnesota their home and are working, learning, and living in our communities. It also would strengthen our state’s economy. This policy provision is currently advancing through the legislative process in House File 4 (Representative Aisha Gomez) and Senate File 27 (Senator Zaynab Mohamed.)   
For a large number of Minnesotans, the daily activities we do to support our ourselves and our families -- like getting to work, dropping children off at school, or buying groceries -- require driving. For about 81,000 Minnesotans, doing these basic activities  when they or their family members do not have a driver’s license risks potentially life-altering consequences, including being separated from their families and losing their livelihoods.   
Taking steps so that all Minnesotans have the ability to acquire driver’s licenses is also a crucial step in building a more equitable and prosperous economy. Especially in a tight labor market, Minnesota increasingly relies on all members of our communities being able to fill critical jobs, which often require having a driver’s license. Driver’s licenses for all would mean more community members can schedule a range of shifts and otherwise access broader job opportunities. The resulting increase in these Minnesotans’ earnings also creates a boost in consumer spending that’s good for our local economies.  
This proposal is an important step toward all Minnesotans – regardless of who they are or where they were born – having a fair shot in today’s economy, and everyone being able to more fully and safely be a part of our communities. This bill was recently passed by the Minnesota House, and should soon be heard on the Senate floor. We strongly urge policymakers to pass this provision into law this year.