Advocates: License, voting changes would aid all in MN

University of St. Thomas law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds called on racial justice advocates in St. Paul to keep raising awareness about Minnesota’s racial disparities, Feb. 18, 2015.  Laura Yuen | MPR News

Racial justice advocates are back at the Capitol to demand more measures that they say would improve the lives of all Minnesotans.

Last year, the Legislature increased the minimum wage and passed the so-called “ban the box” legislation aimed at expanding employment opportunities for job candidates with criminal records.

This year, activists want lawmakers to restore voting rights for former felons. They also want undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses. Workers need to be able to get to work and support their families, said Emilia Gonzalez Avalos of the group Navigate MN.

Gonzales Avalos was among the scores of advocates who gathered Wednesday in St. Paul at a rally organized by Voices for Racial Justice, formerly known as the Organizing Apprenticeship Project.

“Before thinking about social mobility, you need to think about mobility in general — something that will give you access to school conferences, to recreational activities, to your appointments with the doctor,” Gonzales Avalos said.

Many drivers who don’t have permission to live in the United States are in constant fear of being deported if pulled over by police, she said. But in previous years, bills to allow undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses have stalled.

  • davehoug

    Many drivers who don’t have permission to live in the United States are
    in constant fear of being deported if pulled over by police = = = confused here, isn’t this exactly what SHOULD happen?

  • Cat

    Comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, please.