Connecticut’s senate passed legislation on Thursday, May 30, 2013, allowing immigrants, illegally within the United States, to obtain driver’s licenses. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature without receiving a single Republican vote.
Washington State is one of three states that has already allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Utah and New Mexico are the other two. Similar legislation has passed recently by Maryland, Illinois and Oregon.
Connecticut’s Democratic Governor, Dannel Malloy defended his bill, “This bill is first and foremost about public safety. It’s about knowing who is driving on our roads, and doing everything we can to make sure those drivers are safe and that they’re operating registered, insured vehicles,” Malloy said.
But if Connecticut’s bill is like my home state of Washington’s, illegal immigrants can obtain driver’s licenses without even proving their identity. The Washington State Department of Licensing defends this practice by placing in large letters on the license that the person’s identity has not been verified.
A representative of Washington’s Department of Licensing explained the requirements for a license. You can get one with just a birth certificate but it will say the disclaimer that the identity of the person has not been verified. If you are under 18 the process is relatively simple but requires your parents’ assistance while over 18 and up takes several forms of identification to get a normal license.
The fact that persons who have not verified their identification can obtain a valid driver’s license with their photograph and birthday on it presents a conundrum for those in the business world that require valid driver’s licenses for identification. The words “Identification not Verified” is supposed to make the driver’s license void for use in banking, age verification for alcohol and cigarette purchase and other typical uses, yet even the Department of License representative admitted that it is a continuing process to educate banks and businesses on the different licenses.
My first concern on this practice is: Should someone have their driver’s license suspended could they not obtain a birth certificate from another country and use it to get driving privileges under the new name?
As a border patrol agent for more than a quarter century I found that many of the illegal immigrants had numerous aliases. The federal government doesn’t care because, for the last decade or more, the illegal immigrants are tracked through the IDENT System which relies on fingerprints and a photo that are matched with previous entries within minutes.