The Bloomingtonian

Undocumented immigrant advocates march for driver’s licenses Thursday in Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

A group of undocumented immigrant rights advocates participated in the “Walk for Licenses” in Bloomington, Indiana Thursday. In 2007 the state of Indiana stopped renewing the driver’s licenses of undocumented immigrants and stopped issuing new licenses.

A group of about two dozen advocates for immigrant rights assembled in Switchyard Park Thursday, and marched in 90-degree weather across town to the Sample Gates. The marchers stopped a couple times to hydrate, and rest, and a few even found a few moments to dance.

One of the marchers is Dominga Cortes, who is from Veracruz, Mexico, but has spent years living and working in the United States. During the pandemic, she said she also continued to work in a factory, and had friends she worked with who were sickened, and some died from coronavirus.

She workers who were afraid to seek medical care, and afraid they wouldn’t be able to pay their hospital bills, after catching the virus, she said. Meanwhile, Cortes said undocumented workers continued showing up for their jobs for fear that if they didn’t, they would starve from not having money for food.

Cortes said getting pulled over is a constant worry for undocumented immigrants able to own a vehicle, and even get it insured, but risking arrest, and possible deportation just for driving to work, or performing other essential activities that require a vehicle. However, Cortes said undocumented immigrants pay taxes on their wages.

Cortes said she tried to lobby Indiana governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, but found the doors to be closed to her. She then tried to lobby Palestinian American Democratic politician Fady Qaddoura, of Indianapolis, who she says promised to help her, but now doesn’t return her calls, and has ghosted her.

But Cortes says she isn’t giving up and is now participating in the march across Indiana to bring attention to the issue of undocumented immigrants unable to get driver’s licenses.

Cortes said it’s a matter of dignity.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 15: Marchers participate in the “Walk for Licenses” from Switchyard Park to the Sample Gates at Indiana University on July 15, 2021, in Bloomington, Indiana. The State of Indiana government stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew their driver’s licenses or receive new licenses in 2007. Immigrant advocacy group Cosecha is trying to raise awareness about the hardships undocumented workers face without having a driver’s license but trying to commute to work and perform other essential activities those with licenses are able to do. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Rate this post

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 2.2 / 5. Vote count: 5

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!