TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- Immigration continues to be a hot topic across the country. Now, one local lawmaker is doing what she can to help undocumented immigrants in Indiana.
"One of the biggest issues with our undocumented immigrants is transportation,” says West Lafayette state house representative Chris Campbell. “We do have a lot of immigrants without documentation that drives without a driver's license."
Campbell says she wants people who are undocumented to be able to drive on Indiana roads legally. She feels it will make the roadways safer.
"I think it makes everybody safer on the road, so that is one of the biggest issues,” added Campbell. “It also addresses a need for that community."
Campbell is authoring a bill that would allow undocumented Immigrants to take a driver’s test and obtain driver’s licenses while also qualifying them for car insurance.
"The reality is that many of us who are undocumented or have been undocumented have no choice but to drive if we want to participate in this economy," said Monica Casanova the Vice President of the Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies.
As of December 2019 over a dozen other states have passed similar legislation as to what Campbell is proposing. Advocates of the measure say it allows undocumented immigrants to better contribute to the economy.
"Immigrants whether we are undocumented or not we are integral members of the community,” said Casanova. “They are really the backbone of the economy and in this community particularly manufacturing."
Casanova knows firsthand, how hard it is to become a legal citizen.
"My family came here illegally and we became legal during the Reagan administration when they passed an amnesty law and that was a turning point for our family,” added Casanova. “It allowed us to move out of the shadows and live a productive life. I mean, I’m the first person in my family to go to college.”
She says this is something businesses should support as well.
"Businesses should support this legislation because it would ensure that their workers can get to work safely,” added Casanova.
Proponents of this bill say they are worried the passage would deter undocumented immigrants from obtaining the proper documentation to obtain legal status. The Indiana Legislative session starts on January 6th.