NOVEMBER 15, 2007
Lost in the hoopla of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s failed plan to give illegal immigrants drivers licenses is that fact that eight U.S. states currently do so, although one plans to end the practice before year’s end.
Deeply concerned about a highly publicized Judicial Watch lawsuit aimed at blocking the ill-conceived illegal immigrant license plan, Spitzer pulled the plug on it this week and admitted it was not such a good idea after all.
While those who opposed the disastrous New York measure breathed a collective sigh of relief, the fact remains that official licenses are already issued to illegal immigrants in Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon and Washington. Drivers are not required to prove legal status in those states to obtain a license.
Oregon is on the verge of ending the practice, however. Governor Ted Kulongoski plans to issue an executive order this week that will bar undocumented immigrants, who in the past used foreign birth certificates and Mexican “Matricula” cards to prove their identity, from obtaining a drivers license.
At least two other states—North Carolina and Oklahoma—recently created policies to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining licenses by simply requiring proof of U.S. residency. Technically, illegal aliens are ineligible for drivers licenses issued to state residents because they are barred by federal law from establishing legal domicile in any state.
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