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Select Undocumented Workers Granted Michigan Licenses

DETROIT (WWJ) - Undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children can now apply for a Michigan driver's license and state ID. Starting Tuesday, immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 are eligible.

This amounts to a 180 degree reversal on the position Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson held regarding the issue. Johnson had been opposed to granting licenses and IDs to undocumented immigrants in the state.

Taking advantage of the change in the law was 25-year-old Abraham Espinoza of Dearborn -- who spoke with Newsradio 950 about the challenge of having lived without a license.

"It just stops you from doing a lot of things, like going to school, going to work, said Espinoza . "The fact that you don't have a driver's license is going to stop you from doing all that - there are a lot of people who don't realize how hard it is."

Immigration reform is the next item Espinoza would like to see changed in the U.S.
"I want to see my family have a legal status, you know, just move on with our life - why not just give us a chance?"

Like most of Michigan's estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants, Espinoza says he remains hopeful that true immigration reform can emerge from ongoing talks in Washington regarding the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants.

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