States Eager to Tempt Fate Consider Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Storm clouds are gathering in the debate on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. While states such as Arizona and Nebraska have adamantly stated their opposition to the idea, other states such as Illinois and Nevada are pushing legislative measures to permit illegal aliens to drive.

Originally the debate began as a demand for licenses solely for DACA recipients who, having been granted work authorization, contend that they have a legitimate need to be able to drive. However, debate parameters are expanding as state officials float the idea of giving driving privileges to all illegal aliens statewide, regardless of DACA eligibility.

The Illinois Senate recently passed legislation to grant temporary driver’s licenses to all illegal aliens within its jurisdiction. Under Illinois’ proposal, approximately 250,000 illegal aliens in the state would be eligible for the license, which would be valid for up to three years at a time. (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 4, 2012) To obtain a so-called “temporary” driver’s license under the bill, an alien need only have lived in Illinois for a year and may establish his or her identity using a consular ID or foreign passport. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 10, 2012)

Nevada’s Senate is also considering a similar proposal. State legislators have drafted a bill that would initiate a study on the prospective benefits and consequences of granting driver privilege cards to illegal aliens, presumably to gauge the reaction of Nevada residents. With these cards, illegal aliens in Nevada could drive and access insurance, the goal being to curb hit-and-run accidents where illegal aliens flee the scene to avoid deportation. (Associated Press, Dec. 4, 2012)

FAIR contends, in reality, driver’s licenses for illegal aliens wouldn’t solve problems like this at all. What it would do, however, is create a deluge of applicants who, after being granted such privileges, would have greater ease traveling the country and accessing services.

While that may sound innocuous on its face, our nation’s history proves otherwise. The greatest example would be the instrumental use of licenses by the 9/11 terrorists. The multiple licenses the hijackers obtained from states with lax driver’s license requirements permitted them to secure accommodations, flight training, and travel tickets that enabled them to carry out their plots. (FAIR Legislative Update, May 7, 2012; see also FAIR Matricula Consular ID Summary, 2003)

Given the terrorists’ ease in exploiting driver’s license programs, why would we consider expanding such programs to make it even easier for illegal aliens to access and take advantage of? If we’re not careful, we’ll make it very easy for history to repeat itself.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    If undocumented immigrants are given the opportunity to get a license, it will change things in a significant way. For now, many immigrants remain in large cities where they can use public transportation. If they are allowed to drive, they may live and work in other areas of the country, including small suburban towns.

  2. avatar

    Ralph Nader (who disagrees with me entirely on this issue) wrote a book called, “Only the SuperRich Can Save Us”. I agree. I mean, who else?

    Politicians are only interested in self interest (theirs, not ours), not the will of the people. Look at Jim DeMint – here’s a guy who says that he can better serve the interests of the public by quitting the US Senate and working for a think tank. What does that tell you? I mean the guy just quits the US Senate, like he’s giving a 30 day notice at some corporation. Real loyalty towards his constituents.

    Real change will only happen if some media owner like Murdoch decides enough is enough regarding the abuses of illegal immigration. But he’s bought a new home in China, so I’m not optimistic. There are plenty of billionnaires in the US, maybe one of them can help us out in this losing struggle.

    Illegals getting driving licences and state id cards, getting scholarships for school, finding employment, housing, getting medical treatment, etc. The list of what illegals can NOT do in the US is amazingly small.

    When you speak with those in favor of illegals, it’s important to speak like a 10 year old. Draw a circle for them and tell them it represents the US. Then ask if everyone from the entire world – what is it, 6 or 7 billion people by now? – can come and live and work here in the US. Unless the person is insane, they will tell you of course not, this is simply (and mathematically) not possible.

    So, both of you will have some level of agreement: you both agree that illegal immigration is wrong. It’s just the number of illegals that you disagree with. At least it’s a start.


  3. avatar

    Have other states refuse to recognize a license from a state that allows illegals to get them. Some states have tightened procedures to where you need a passport or state certified birth certificate. Why not?

  4. avatar

    The Slavelords Want To Break Our Laws

    And make our legal documentation to voters, like drivers licenses, a sellable commodity to pander to their IAs and keep them coming to work as our lower paid replacements.

  5. avatar

    From what I’ve read, states such as New Mexico which already give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, haven’t experienced the purported benefits of doing so. Here in VA, Carlos Martinelli Montana, an illegal alien in deportation proceedings, was issued a work permit (the same sort of thing DACA recipients are getting) and was able to get a driver’s license on the strength of it. He drove drunk, lost his license, AND CONTINUED TO DRIVE, finally driving drunk yet again and killing a nun. Virginia no longer issues licenses on the strength of the work permit alone. Point being: illegal aliens do NOT respect the laws of this country and will apply for and use driver’s licenses only as long as it benefits them. And just why does an illegal alien “need” a driver’s license, our national ID, anyway? They break the law by entering illegally, break the law by working illegally, break the law by committing fraud and identity theft to get jobs, break the law by evading taxes, yet suddenly they get all “law abiding” about driving? Fact is, driver’s licenses are our de facto national ID and having one makes it easier to get jobs, benefits, and generally live a “normal” life here with less worry about being detected as being here illegally.