The 2023 legislative session was a whirlwind of progressive wins. From Universal School Meals to the legalization of recreational cannabis, there’s much to celebrate for Minnesota.
Here are four new laws progressives passed that will benefit undocumented Minnesotans and all of our communities in every corner of the state:
Driver’s Licenses For All
Beginning October 1, Minnesotans can get a Standard State Identification Card, Permit, or Driver’s License without providing proof of legal presence in the United States.
Minnesota joined 18 states and Washington, D.C., allowing undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. In states with similar laws, there were significant decreases in road-related accidents. Also, the number of uninsured drivers decreased when undocumented people were allowed to obtain driver’s licenses.
There are over 30,700 children in Minnesota with parents who lack immigration status. With access to legal IDs, families across Minnesota can enroll their children in school, visit doctors, travel to employment, and so much more.
Free College Tuition for Undocumented Students
Undocumented students in Minnesota are now eligible for Minnesota’s new tuition-free college program. The free college initiative, called “North Star Promise,” covers tuition at two- or four-year schools in the University of Minnesota system, Minnesota State system, and all Tribal Colleges for students whose families make $80,000 or less annually.
Just 5 to 10 percent of the 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from high school continue on to college. Out of that group, just 1 to 3 percent earn a diploma. Undocumented students aren’t eligible for federal Pell grants, and the fear of being deported adds another layer of stress.
The “North Star Promise” will help expand opportunities for all students, regardless of their legal status.
Expanding MinnesotaCare to Undocumented Residents
In a massive victory for undocumented and low-income Minnesotans, progressives expanded the state’s publicly subsidized insurance program for low-income residents, known as MinnesotaCare.
About 17% of Minnesota’s uninsured are undocumented. Under this new law, undocumented Minnesotans will have access to health insurance under MinnesotaCare starting January 2025.
Minnesota is now the second state to allow all low-income residents to enroll in public insurance, regardless of immigration status.
Undocumented Minnesotans Can Access MN’s Insulin Safety Net Program
Progressives created the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program in 2020 to help Minnesotans struggling with the high cost of insulin. Then, during the 2023 legislative session, our progressive leaders expanded the program to serve undocumented Minnesotans. As of August 1, Minnesotans can access the program using their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Minnesotans applying for the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program can also access help from MNsure-certified navigators in various languages, including Hmong, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Big wins for Undocumented Minnesotans
Seeing what we have achieved for our undocumented neighbors under progressive leadership has truly been inspiring. And as conservatives pass harmful laws across the Midwest, it’s more important than ever that we fight to keep making Minnesota a more equitable place for all of us to thrive, regardless of what we look like or where we come from.
Sign up to join the fight for a better, more equitable Minnesota.