THE ONGOING DEBATE ABOUT whether all age-eligible immigrants who can pass state driving tests should be able to obtain driver’s licenses has been a distraction from the real issues that states face in promoting public safety and protecting their communities. States need to create practical, workable solutions, and denying certain immigrants licenses because of their immigration status is simply bad public policy. It increases uninsurance rates and the number of unlicensed drivers, and it undermines effective law enforcement.
Showing (1) enacted law, (2) driver's license bill passed by one house of legislature, (3) bill introduced this session, and (4) states that deny driver's licenses to youth granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
NILC continually reviews state policies that affect DACA recipients’ eligibility for driver’s licenses, focusing on whether DACA recipients fit within the current laws and policies governing issuance of licenses. This is a work in progress, which we are refining as the policies evolve.
Driver’s license restrictions won’t fix our broken immigration system. | State policymakers need to deal with realistic solutions, not sound bites and partisan politics. | Denying driver’s licenses to the undocumented population jeopardizes public safety and drives up insurance rates. | National security efforts are undermined by driver’s license restrictions. | State law enforcement efforts are undermined by driver’s license restrictions. | State policymakers should support practical driver’s license reforms that improve the integrity of the license.
Legislatures across the country have introduced and enacted proposals aimed at barring undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards. At the federal level, Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to tighten security standards on licenses and ID cards and to prevent certain immigrants from obtaining these documents. But these proposals do not simply affect undocumented immigrants. They also have had the unintended — but entirely predictable — consequence of preventing many eligible U.S. citizens and lawfully present immigrants from obtaining these documents.
Law Enforcement officials comment on the overall benefits of allowing immigrants to hold driver's licenses.
Provides a summary of the following: Information Required on the Driver's License. | Minimum Driver's License Issusuance Standards. | Immigration Requirements.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (HR 1268), and it was signed into law by the president on May 11, 2005. It provides that beginning three years after REAL ID’s enactment (May 2008), driver’s licenses cannot be accepted by federal agencies for any “official” purpose unless they meet the requirements of the act.