From: Rosine Tenenbaum
Winona State University
Many of us came to this country escaping pogroms, dictatorships, political and religious persecutions, famines or simply dire poverty. Landless Norwegians farmers, Welsh slate miners, Polish coal miners, starving Irish, Jews fleeing Nazi Europe, all came in waves. All feared and despised by the previous waves that had already settled here. And now it is the turn of Central America. They are already here. They work our farm fields, man food industries, knitting mills and furniture factories. They clean our hotels and cook in our cafeterias and restaurants. Many of them are undocumented. Not because they are criminals but because the successive governments of this country and its demagogue politicians have made it illegal or almost impossible to legalize their situation. The hypocrisy is shocking: we employ the most hardworking segment of our society but they need to remain hidden underground in order to continue to serve us and feed us.
Today we demand for those hard-working undocumented people who contribute to make some of us very rich, the right to obtain a driver’s license. Often they are working on isolated farms or in scattered businesses unable to access help that would improve their living condition and allow them to integrate better in our communities. It would be to the benefit and the safety of all of us if they could insure their cars, for example. In case of a collision the other party would not be left holding the bag.
With the right to drive they could attend their night classes, be more punctual at work and live without constant fear of being deported for a minor incident like a police stop. Because of the lack of public transportation in this part of the state, not having the right to drive is almost like having no legs.
Our state is in great need of workers, documented if possible, undocumented if need be, in order to contribute to our state properly. We all need them. Let’s make their life more bearable and all of us safer. Driver’s license for all. It ought to be a human right in a Minnesota.