Contributed by Wendi Strauch Mahoney
Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota is pushing to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens as lawmakers in Minnesota are working toward compliance with the Real ID law. He wants to use the Real ID bill to help immigrants obtain the upgraded licenses. Real ID was passed in in 2005 “to increase the difficulty for potential terrorists to acquire fake ID’s.”
Dayton has stated that “immigrants driving without a license or insurance creates a public safety problem.” Senate Minority Leader, Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook agrees. Bakk commented that getting undocumented immigrants those licenses “just makes sense” and “would ensure they meet a driving test and have insurance.”
Just last week, the Republican-controlled House made it clear that the upgraded Real ID’s would exclude illegal immigrants. Starting in January of 2018, all airports and Federal checkpoints will require the Real ID driver’s licenses.
Minnesota is one of 5 states left working toward compliance with the Federal law requiring the enhanced ID. The House and Senate plan to“create a second tier of licenses that could not be used for federal purposes.” (Twin Cities Pioneer Press) Undocumented immigrants would have access to that second tier.
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Many lawmakers, including Dayton, are concerned that prohibiting illegals from obtaining licenses is about politics not safety. “Advocates fiercely believe that allowing undocumented immigrants legal access to licenses would make the roads safer for all. Opponents say that illegal immigrants are breaking the law and that granting them licenses would condone their criminal presence.”
Real ID may hit some roadblocks when the bill hits the Senate. There are some Republicans who are against it because of “privacy” concerns or Federal overreach in states’ “conduct (with) their licensing.” The Senate will need the support of the DFL (Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party) to pass the bill.
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