MAY 15, 2013
As the national debate over immigration reform gets more and more heated, some states are working behind the scenes to give illegal aliens benefits that are supposed to be banned under federal law.
This month alone two states—Oregon and Maryland—passed measures that allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and a third (Colorado) is close to doing the same. For years Washington State and New Mexico were the only to offer illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. That changed earlier this year when Illinois passed a law, with strong bipartisan support, that’s expected to give about a quarter of a million illegal aliens the right to apply for a valid state driver’s license simply by providing a photo identification from their native country and some sort of proof that they’ve lived in Illinois for a year.
It appears to have started a trend. Now Connecticut and the District of Columbia are considering laws to let illegal immigrants drive in the state. Rhode Island was contemplating the same, but put the bill on hold for the year when a 39-year-old illegal immigrant struck and killed a 6-year-old boy while driving a pickup truck without a license. The illegal alien, Andres Morales, is being held by the feds on immigration charges.
That doesn’t mean Rhode Island’s bill is dead, however, because lawmakers have indicated that it will be introduced during the next legislative session. Connecticut’s proposal will likely become law, according to media reports, because it has widespread support from state and local leaders, including the governor, legislators and a number of mayors. In fact, last month they held a news conference at that state capitol to endorse the initiative.
In D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray introduced a bill just a few days ago to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses in the nation’s capital. This would happen via a two-tiered system in which illegal aliens would receive a card that wouldn’t be accepted on the federal level, to board a plane or enter a government building. In 2011 Gray, who has been embroiled in a variety of scandals, signed an executive order to make D.C. a sanctuary for illegal immigrants by forbidding police and other city agencies from asking people about their immigration status.
Also this month, Colorado passed a bill granting illegal aliens discounted tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities. About a dozen other states—including California, Illinois, New York, Utah and Texas—already offer the perk which annually costs U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars. To celebrate the law’s passage, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper attended a rally at one of the state’s public universities and said the measure will grant illegal students with a “path forward.”
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