, Land Line state legislative editor
Two states still allow illegal immigrants to obtain full-blown driver’s licenses. One more state offers a permit that allows them to drive, but not use the license as an ID. In each case, lawmakers are trying to end the practice.
In recent years, the list of states providing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants has dropped from nine to two – New Mexico and Washington. In Utah, illegal immigrants can obtain licenses to drive, but they cannot be used as identification.
Supporters of stricter licensing rules say the current system allows for identity fraud and raises other public safety concerns.
Opponents say that cutting access to driver’s licenses would raise insurance costs because illegal immigrants wouldn’t be able to obtain insurance. The result would be many more uninsured drivers.
They also say that the purpose of a license is to show proof of the ability to drive – not be used for identification purposes.
In New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez said the system is a disaster waiting to happen. She campaigned a year ago on a pledge to stop letting illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses.
The governor’s administration said the change could affect 82,000 driver’s license holders in the state.
“As other states clamp down, New Mexico has become a haven for people looking to circumvent the law,” Martinez said during a recent news conference.
A House bill would require applicants to have a Social Security number to get a driver’s license... Continue to read more...