CIVIL RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS
Driver's License - In 2008, the Michigan Attorney General issued a legal opinion only allowing United States Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents to qualify for a Michigan Driver’s License and Identification Card. This prevented anyone else from obtaining a DL and ID, including international students, investors, corporate heads, refugees and so many others who were living in Michigan.
The Michigan Legislature responded by changing the law to address legal opinion by defining legal presence as anyone who had an approved petition for legal status with the federal government, as well as a holder of a non-immigrant visa. However, the current Michigan Secretary of State still has not implemented the intent of the new changed ( Public Act 7 and 31 of 2008) and continues to exclude individuals that are legally present, and misconstrues current federal immigration law.
Michigan hosts over 300,000 temporary legal residents who significantly contribute to Michigan's economic growth. They include automotive executives, managers, key engineering talent and so many others. The more complex the process becomes in obtaining a driver's license and the increased delay in addressing these concerns, the less likely foreign nationals will choose Michigan for their investment and
In State Tuition - Michigan is faced with the growing need to allow children of immigrants who graduated from Michigan high schools to gain residency status to seek post-high school education. The Michigan Constitution does not permit the legislative branch to dictate tuition rates.
However, many states have implemented similar provisions to allow immigrant children to seek post high school education, so we are asking that the Higher Education Appropriations bill be amended to allow the implementation of this legislation. These children came to the United States as infants or minor children with their immigrant parents and are educated in our school system. After earning their high school degrees they encounter barriers that prohibit them to seek a college degree because of their immigrant status. Most of the children only know the United States as their home. Public school teachers invest their time and energy into promoting further education and later face these obstacles. We deserve to see our investment
in the education of these children pay off in helping our American workforce become more qualified and productive.
Bills to provide in-state tuition have been enacted in 7 states — California, Illinois, Oklahoma, New York, Texas, Utah, and Washington. This legislation will not cause universities additional financial harm since this is a pool of students that they currently do not have access to. This initiative will not change the legal immigration status of the students but will enable them to attend college.
Workers’ Compensation -Currently, Michigan workers are denied benefits due to a controversial State Supreme Court case, Sanchez v. Eagle Alloy, which denies any compensation for lost wages or lost work from injuries sustained on the job by undocumented workers because of their status. Sanchez v Eagle Alloy is based on legal arguments that have been specifically denied by courts in California, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina.
The impact of this ruling, unfortunately, does not save the state money but encourages a system that puts workers in danger. Michigan law requires all employers to arrange for the payment of workers' compensation benefits by purchasing insurance from a commercial insurance carrier, or by obtaining stateapproved self-insured status. This reform is needed to protect Michigan workers from being put in danger unnecessarily.
Lawmakers in all but two states have enacted workers' compensation statutes that allow workers employed in their state to be eligible for benefits if injured on the job no matter their immigration status.
The only states that haven’t are Michigan and Pennsylvania.