February 17, 2020
House and Senate Republicans have introduced legislation that would block certain federal funds from sanctuary states that allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.
The Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act would stop Justice Department (DOJ) grants that are a top source of federal criminal justice funding for states.
The legislation would target states that “defy federal immigration enforcement or that allow illegal aliens to get driver licenses without proof of lawful presence” and those that “prohibit or restrict a local or State government entity or official from collecting or sending to or receiving from the Department of Homeland Security immigration enforcement information.”
In the Senate, the legislation is being introduced by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn and co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Mike Rounds, R-S.D. Companion legislation is being introduced in the House by Colorado Rep. Ken Buck. His bill is co-sponsored by 21 other lawmakers.
“Tennesseans know all too well what can happen when illegal immigrants are granted driver licenses,” Blackburn said in a statement. “While Tennessee and many other states prohibit driver licenses for illegal aliens, a growing number of states are moving in the opposite direction and unleashing dangerous open borders policies. Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license.”
“In America, no one is above the law,” she added.
Blackburn’s office estimated that states that issued licenses to illegal aliens received nearly $53 million that would be impacted by this new legislation during the 2019 fiscal year.
The NCSL reports that fifteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. These states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington—issue a license if an applicant provides certain documentation, such as a foreign birth certificate, foreign passport, or consular card and evidence of current residency in the state.
“In 2019, New Jersey, New York and Oregon became the most recent states to enact legislation extending drivers licenses and identification cards to those without proof of lawful presence,” their report noted.