Immigrants Praise Passage of Undocumented Drivers' Bill

May 31, 2013

Members of the state’s immigrant community are praising the passage of a bill that will allow undocumented residents in Connecticut to obtain drivers’ licenses.   

Armon Morales lives in East Haven, a town with a history of discriminatory policing, including race-based traffic stops. With yesterday’s passage by the Senate of a bill that will allow all immigrants, regardless of federal immigration status, to obtain licenses in Connecticut, Morales says his community will be less afraid of law enforcement.

"To hold an ID, when the police officers pulls them over, they will be able to identify themselves."

Morales says immigrants in Connecticut own small businesses and homes.

"If we want to stay here, we want to contribute to this community. And if we own a car, we will be paying taxes to our municipalities, so this is a good thing for everyone."

Morales is a member of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, many of whose congregants are undocumented.  They were part of a coalition of faith groups around the state called CONECT who worked toward passage of the drivers bill.

Opponents of the measure say it rewards those who entered the country illegally and warn that it could lead to voter fraud. 

The measure heads now to the governor who has said he’ll sign it.

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.