In the early hours of Feb. 22, 2023, the Minnesota Senate approved the “driver’s licenses for all” proposed legislation. In the coming days, the bill, which takes effect Oct. 1, will be reconciled and sent to Gov. Tim Walz—who supports it—for his signature. In effect, the law will allow applicants who pass written and behind-the-wheel driving tests to obtain a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. This means that tens of thousands of people in Minnesota will be able to drive themselves and their family to work, school, and church without the fear of being stopped and subject to a fine or worse. The measure will help to improve public safety and increase opportunities for participation in the economy.
Since 2003, many immigrant, faith, business, public safety, and agricultural groups have worked together to get the legislation passed. It has been a long and hard struggle, and one in which Iglesia Piedra Viva (IPV) and its pastor, Rev. Jesus Purisaca, have participated since 2013, when it was the Latino Ministry of Park Avenue UMC called Amistad Sin Fronteras (Friendship without Borders). IPV is now a United Methodist church start in Minneapolis.
Pastor Purisaca led many prayer vigils in partnership with other United Methodist churches such as La Puerta Abierta in St. Paul. He was also the unofficial chaplain for many of those who participated in marches and rallies at the Capitol, and spoke and prayed over participants. Bethel University and Crossroads Church provided transportation for people to go to the Capitol.
IPV and Purisaca came alongside local Latino leaders and immigrant groups such as Mesa Latina and Movimiento Inmigrante to provide spiritual support in the struggle.
“I am grateful for the leadership of Jovita, Francisco, Mariano, Luz, Gina, Margarito and so many others, without whom the passage of the law would not have happened,” said Purisaca. “I am grateful to God, because many families will be favored with this triumph. I am grateful because God is a God who always reminds us that we must, ‘do justice, show mercy, and be humble’ (Micah 6:8). I am grateful to God for this triumph for the Minnesota immigrant community.”
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404