February 14, 2024 Call to Action

Indiana House Bill Threatens Driver’s Licenses for Some Legal Immigrants
By Lisa Oglesbee

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Indiana lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would not allow certain legal immigrants – those who are here under a status called Humanitarian Parole (HP) – to obtain a state ID or driver’s license. The bill is called Indiana HB1162, and it has already passed the state House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate sometime next week.

The details of the bill include, “Repeals language allowing the bureau of motor vehicles (bureau) to issue a driver’s license or identification card to a person granted parole.” Currently, the definition of an “Indiana resident” in the Indiana Code includes “A person who is living in Indiana and has been granted parole” as part of that definition. If HB1162 passes, that line would be removed from the definition of an Indiana resident who is permitted to obtain a state ID and/or driver’s license.

Last year, a bill was passed to allow the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to issue state IDs and driver’s licenses for Ukrainian HPs only. After that passed, the ACLU sued, calling the bill discriminatory because it singled out one group and excluded HPs from any other country. So instead of expanding the legislation to be inclusive, the authors of HB1162 are rescinding the language from the bill that passed last year, releasing the BMV from issuing these documents to any HPs, regardless of their country of origin.

We at Neighbor to Neighbor interact on a daily basis with legal refugees and asylum seekers in South Bend, and we believe it is essential to address this matter to ensure the well-being and prosperity of our community and state. We know from experience that access to state IDs and driver’s licenses is crucial to the wellbeing of immigrant newcomers and their families as well as the community at large, including employers, public schools, and more. People who cannot legally drive are much more reliant on community members and the city to provide transportation, and those without a driver’s license often cannot find much-needed employment, thus increasing the likelihood of having to be supported by the state. The lack of proper identification and/or a driver’s license makes life more difficult for everyone involved, while the ability to obtain one brings freedom to all.

The bill is sponsored by Senator Michael Crider, who is also Chair of the Homeland Security and Transportation Committee. Join us in asking Senator Crider, the authors of the bill, and any other state Senators to amend this bill so that it does not rescind state IDs and driver’s licenses from Humanitarian Parolees, who are a valued part of our community. Request that the Senate make that available to all Humanitarian Parolees in Indiana, regardless of where they hail from.

For more information:
Indiana General Assembly HB1162
Indiana House Democratic Caucus article
Find your State Senator

Contact any State Senator by mail at:
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone numbers for the sponsor and bill authors:
Senator Michael Crider (sponsor) 800-382-9467
Senator Jim Pressel (author) 800-382-9841
Senator Steve Bartels (co-author) 800-382-9841

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