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Elkhart, Goshen councils support proposed driving rights for undocumented immigrants

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Screenshot captured via Facebook Live
State Sen. Blake Doriot (R-Goshen) speaks before the Elkhart Council about SB 200 on Monday, Aug. 1.

Elkhart and Goshen’s city councils have both expressed support recently for a proposed state bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally.

The bill is authored by state Sens. Blake Doriot (R-Goshen) and David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) and co-authored by Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger).

Doriot said the bill has yet to come before the legislature, but already has bipartisan support.

“Eighteen Democrats and 22 Republicans have signed on that they want to see this move forward and go through the process in the General Assembly,” he told the Elkhart Council Monday.

The bill would allow undocumented residents who have lived in Indiana long enough to achieve state residency to obtain a “driving card.”

The card would function like a driver’s license, but could not be used as voter identification or outside state lines. Cardholders would also be required to purchase and maintain car insurance.

Dara Marquez is an undocumented woman who has lived in Elkhart “for more than 26 years.” She told the council that the cards would let undocumented Hoosiers “drive in peace.”

“This is our home,” Marquez said. “And so we’re here to stay — we intend to stay and invest in our community.”

Doriot said multiple state organizations have expressed support for the bill, including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Prosecutor’s Association, and Police Chiefs Association.

“They believe that this will make the roads safer,” he said. “It will put officers a little more at ease when they have a traffic stop and the individual has a driving card that says, ‘We’re participating, we want to be here, and we’re showing you we are.’”

The Elkhart Council voted 6 to 2 to pass a resolution in support of the proposed bill. The Goshen Common Council approved a similar ordinance last month.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.