Jason Adkins testifies in support of Drivers License for All to the Senate Transportation Committee

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S.F. 27 Driver’s Licenses for All
Testimony from Jason Adkins

My name is Jason Adkins, and I am the executive director of MCC, here to testify in support of SF. 27 (Mohamed), Driver’s Licenses for All.

The Catholic bishops of Minnesota support drivers’ license for all because of the need to keep families together.  A broken immigration system that simultaneously invites people in so that they can serve as cheap labor while at the same time making their presence unlawful is exploitative in the worse sense of the term. 

We live under a broken immigration system that needs fixing.  Unfortunately, both leaders in both parties seem to be leveraging that broken system for political advantage, and there is little hope of enacting comprehensive immigration reform. 

In the wake of Congress’s failure, which creates more acute problems in communities across the county, not just at the border, Minnesota can act to provide some very basic stability to undocumented persons and their families, who need not fear deportation because of a routine traffic stop or when they get in an accident. 

And that is an important reality to consider.  The federal government is not going to deport en masse the undocumented living in our midst.  So, we can choose to provide some measure of stability in ways that make sense and respect the responsibilities of migrants to the broader community, or we can consign people to the shadows and make them a permanent underclass.  The latter option is not acceptable. 

With this legislation we can promote traffic safety and the needs of law enforcement to work effectively with the immigrant community.  It serves the common good.

To those who reflexively speak of not rewarding quote lawbreakers, I would encourage you to study the realities of our broken system and get to know the immigrant families in your communities who have built lives here amid some instability.  The rule of law is an important value, but our laws are broken and need fixing.  We need to focus on the human realities in front of us and remedy those in ways that respect the common good. 

In the words of my boss, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, “I believe this legislation is an important human rights test,” “Will we as Minnesotans embrace our brothers and sisters and help them in a way that costs us nothing as a community, or will we be overcome by what Pope Francis calls a ‘culture of indifference’ that fails in the duty to see the needs of others and respond effectively?

Thank you for your consideration.

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