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Driver License for Illegal Immigrants

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Giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants has been a topic of discussion in the United States for quite a few years and people on both sides of the argument tend to have strong opinions. However, with recent government changes, at both a national and state level, many states are starting to provide licenses to undocumented immigrants.

For some, this is still a controversial topic. But as of 2013, more and more illegal immigrants will be getting their driver’s licenses and ID cards through a variety of different states.

Application Process

Illegal immigrants applying for driver’s licenses are doing so through new legislation as part of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act allows illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to apply for a driver’s license.

The Act applies to adults as old as 35 as long as they have been in the country since childhood.

Why Issue Driver’s Licenses?

The most basic reason people support the DREAM Act and an immigrant’s rights to obtain a driver’s license is because they were brought to this country as children, and should enjoy many of the same basic rights as others who grew up here. Without a driver’s license, many illegal immigrants have no identification whatsoever, and are unable to support themselves and their family through work.

Benefits

Providing driver’s licenses to undocumented workers in the United States allows them to move freely and work in the United States. This creates tax money for local and federal governments and also contributes to the economy. After all, illegal immigrants buy basic items in the United States just like naturalized citizens.

Driver’s licenses also provide some sort of documentation of illegal immigrants in the United States to state and federal government.

Potential Negatives

Many people who argue that providing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants is bad for the country may do so because they believe that driver’s licenses encourage illegal immigrants to stay in the United States and work, taking jobs from American workers.

This argument generally doesn’t hold water because illegal immigrants in the United States generally don’t take the same jobs as American citizens – often working for much lower pay. Even so, most companies require a birth certificate or another form of legal ability to work in the United States.

Immigration Reform Impact

Along with the rest of the DREAM Act, many believe that issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, especially those who were brought here at children and consider the United States to be their home, is one of the first steps toward allowing young immigrants the right to be productive, upstanding members of society instead of hiding in the shadows.

Those opposed to DREAM Act proposals claim that issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants of any age or status will encourage more people to come to the United States illegally.

The Immigration Numbers

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As of February 2013, there were just over 400,000 applications for the program between mid-August and mid-January of 2012 according to the Department of Homeland Security, as reported by The Iowa Gazette. Of those applications, about 150,000 have been approved, about 370,000 are still being processed, and just over 10,000 were rejected. Most of the applications rejected were rejected because of insufficient paperwork or because the applicant had yet to pass a state-mandated driving test.

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