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Undocumented Residents Seeking Driver’s Licenses

January 14, 2013
Plain English Version

An Obama program gives younger undocumented people deferment from deportation for two years. This enables them to study and work. It also gives them a social security number.

It does not give them access to federal student loan programs and grants. It does not give them driver’s licenses.

The states are in a position to create and manage their own programs. Some states are making student loans and grants. Some states already issue drivers’ licenses. Illinois is moving ahead with such a program. Arizona is making it clear it will not.

The value of making activities such as driving legal is clear. It means auto insurance that protects everyone. It means automobile operators must pass a test to get a license.

New Mexico is now considering ending its ten-year old program of issuing drivers’ licenses.

Observers think the Obama program will give the states a chance to re-think their programs targeted to undocumented residents. It seems immigration reform is on the minds of people. Differences among states will still be important in the debate to come.

The New York Times

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