Licenses for Illegal Immigrants in Yet Another State
In what appears to be a nationwide trend to give illegal immigrants state benefits, Nevada has become the fourth this month alone to pass a measure allowing them to get driver’s licenses.
Earlier in the month Oregon, Maryland and Colorado approved laws to allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. Several months ago Illinois passed a similar bill, with strong bipartisan support, that’s expected to give 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.
Before this recent illegal alien license frenzy, Washington State and New Mexico were for years the only to offer those living in the U.S. illegally the right to drive legally. This week Nevada joined the bandwagon when the state Assembly overwhelmingly approved, 30-9, its law. The state’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, is expected to sign the bill, which creates a special driver privilege card for those in the country illegally. Utah offers a similar card that’s not otherwise valid as identification to, say board airplanes, but the bottom line remains; it’s a valid driver’s license.
Sponsors of Nevada’s measure assert it will help public safety because those currently driving on state highways must take a test and acquire insurance. The cards must be renewed annually and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is prohibited from releasing information on the cards for enforcement of immigration laws. Officials estimate there are 100,000 people driving illegally in the state.
How much will it cost taxpayers to create these new cards for illegal immigrants? A lawmaker quoted in a national news story says it will cost about $1.6 million to design and implement the special driver’s licenses. “This is not an identification card,” a Nevada legislator told her colleagues before this week’s Assembly vote. “This is about public safety.” Another state lawmaker rejoiced: “People will pay for a permit, be able to buy a car … take road trips.”
More local governments have plans in the works to let illegal immigrants obtain driver’s licenses. Among them are Connecticut and the District of Columbia. 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 weeks 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.