Milwaukee County Board committee approves resolution supporting driver’s licenses for all

Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Board's Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee on Thursday, March 7 passed a resolution that would allow full access to driver's licenses regardless of someone's immigration status or fines. It passed by a 3-2 vote.

While the resolution serves as a recommendation to endorse Governor Tony Evers' budget proposal that would allow people in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses and identification cards, some county officials said they believe it could change people's quality of life.

The resolution was introduced by Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez.

"At the local level, it is our responsibility to make sure our public is safe, and I believe this resolution does that," said Ortiz-Velez.

The resolution calls for the restoration of access to driver's licenses for all Wisconsin residents, regardless of immigration status, and for those unable to pay fines.

"I don't see this resolution as a place to have a discussion on whether or not you agree with immigration or not, because the federal government is the one who needs to get their act together," said Ortiz-Velez.

Ortiz-Velez said the resolution was about public safety, explaining that people need to know the rules of the road.

FOX6 News spoke with Malik Glanville and Rami Rahmoun, two of 130 people who became citizens in Milwaukee on Thursday.

"I think if the person hasn't been here long enough to understand this country and wants to get through the process quick, then I think they should do that," said Glanville.

"I think it's fair. Honestly, let's make the United States great, as long as you're a lawful citizen and you don't commit crime," said Rahmoun.

Some are opposed to the proposal, believing it would incentivize people to break the law, and it's the wrong way to go about a major problem. Another issue brought up during the committee meeting Thursday was the idea that just because someone might hold a driver's license, it doesn't mean undocumented immigrants would be allowed to vote.

"Simply because you may hold a driver's license does not mean that you are added to voter rolls," said Margaret Daun, Milwaukee County corporation counsel.

Again, the resolution declares Milwaukee County's support for Gov. Evers' proposal. The full Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the resolution on March 21.

Officials with Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant advocacy organization, said in a news release the Racine Common Council recently passed a similar resolution.

Voces de la Frontera announced a statewide day of action and lobby day to restore driver's licenses for all on March 14 at the Capitol in Madison.

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