Friday, September 04, 2015

States that are home to 37% of illegal immigrants allow those residents to obtain driver's licenses

Ten states—mostly out West—and Washington, D.C., issue driver’s licenses, or similar documents, to illegal immigrants, reports The Pew Charitable Trusts. The 10 states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Washington—and Washington, D.C., are home to 37 percent of unauthorized immigrants. Many of the 11 million illegal immigrants work in agriculture.

"In 2013 alone, eight states and the District of Columbia passed laws making unauthorized immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses (one was later repealed)," reports Pew. "In 2015, Delaware and Hawaii enacted similar laws. As of this report’s publication, neither state had begun issuing licenses."

"States consider legislation regarding these immigrants’ access to driver’s licenses in the context of the federal REAL ID Act, the 2005 law that created national standards for state driver’s licenses that can be used for federal identification," reports Pew. "This law expressly authorizes states to provide licenses to unauthorized immigrants but only if the licenses are distinct from regular ones in specific ways. State decisions also are likely to be affected by the federal executive actions announced in November 2014 that, if fully implemented, could allow millions of unauthorized immigrants who meet certain conditions to acquire the documents needed to apply for regular driver’s licenses under existing state laws." (Pew map)

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