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Md. Lawmakers Propose Compromise on Immigrant Licenses

A tentative deal has emerged between leaders in the House of Delegates and the Senate on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, one of the most hard-fought issues of the legislative session.

Under a compromise plan expected to emerge from a conference committee later today, motorists who cannot prove they are in the country legally would no longer be able to apply for a Maryland license. The "out-of-country" program would cease on April 19. But hundreds of thousands of drivers who received licenses by providing foreign documents that lack a U.S. visa stamp would get one opportunity to renew them before their license expires on July 1, 2015. The renewed license would be only a "permit to drive" that could not be used to get into federal buildings or onto airplanes.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel) have signed off on the plan, and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to sign the bill, assuming it passes both legislative chambers before the General Assembly's scheduled adjournment at midnight.

The plan, if it passes, represents a compromise between two vastly different solutions to the challenge Maryland faces in complying with the federal security law known as Real ID. To comply with the law, the state needs to show this year that its drivers license is a secure card like a national ID that U.S. citizens can use to board commercial planes, enter federal buildings and cross borders.

Maryland is one of just four states that currently offers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The House passed a bill that would close the door to new applicants who cannot prove their legal presence in the country, but grandfather in current license holders and allow them to renew them indefinitely for a limited driving permit. The more conservative Senate, however, had voted to require a lawful presence of all license seekers, without grandfathering in those driving legally now.

The Senate this morning turned back a motion proposed by Del. David R. Brinkley (R-Frederick) that would have instructed the three senators on a House-Senate conference committee to stick to the bill's Senate version.


By Lisa Rein  |  April 13, 2009; 1:19 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Lisa Rein  
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Comments

Why would we have ever let these people have driver's licenses, that is the big mystery to me. And why let them renew without a valid Visa. Send them back to wherever ASAP, according to our immigration law.

Posted by: rgfox555 | April 13, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I really would like to know the answer to this question about maryland drivers licenses. How can an illegal person get a drivers license in Maryland when you have to have a Valid Social Security Number? They verify not only the number, but the name must be exact in the federal govt system or they will deny you a license. So if the writer or anybody else could tell me how an illegal can get a license, I am very curious to know.

Posted by: niceday971 | April 13, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

rgfox555: i second that!!

Posted by: astroman215aolcom | April 13, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I just don't understand why people without valid proof of US citizenship or visa should be allowed to get a drivers license??? Last time I checked, the US was its own country, with its own sovernty, and its own privileges of being citizen (or here legally). We were all immigrants, but immigrants who came here legally and decided to leave their countries behind and swear alligence to the US. I don't understand why people would vote for anyone who didn't want legal immigration into this country and don't want to uphold our laws.

Posted by: pccu | April 13, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm fearful that this law will lead to two unintended consequences.....

1) An increase in traffic accidents, particularly among those without a driver's license. This law is not going to stop people from illegally coming to Maryland or the United States. It will however encourage people to now drive without a license - so what little ability the DMV had to take unsafe drivers off the streets is now gone.

Individuals without legal reason to be in MD/USA won't suddenly stop driving because of this. They will just drive without licenses. Which means they will drive without vision tests, or knowledge of American driving laws. That seems like a recipe for more accidents to me.

2) Selective enforcement. I really hope that this program is not selectively enforced. I fear that anyone who looks Latino or African might be discriminated against. I hope MD officials ensure that as many Canadians, British, and Germans are denied licenses as Latino and African immigrants.

Posted by: isaac101 | April 13, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

niceday971--you are incorrect. Not only is it not required, by federal regulation, the state may not require a social security number to grant anything other than financial status (such as for tax purposes). A SSN is not a universal personal identification number, only a number. For identity theft and personal security information, my wife and I will not provide the MVA with out SSN and they are still required to grant us driver's licenses. We use birth certificates and passports to validate our citizenship for driver's license information.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | April 13, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, over the last 200+ years lots of people came to this country illegally. Illegal immigration wasn't always so illegal, and has a history of ebbs and flows with economic tides. That being said, this country seems to have reached a point where immigration laws need to be developed and enforced, more so than what has been done in the past. Driving licenses (i.e. official identification) seems to be part of that trend, and probably necessary.

Posted by: 123cartoon | April 13, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

1) An increase in traffic accidents, particularly among those without a driver's license. This law is not going to stop people from illegally coming to Maryland or the United States. It will however encourage people to now drive without a license - so what little ability the DMV had to take unsafe drivers off the streets is now gone.

Posted by: isaac101 | April 13, 2009 2:37 PM

=====

It also means that it will be harder for police to identify suspects, perpetrators and criminals. Many illegals working in this area have driver's licenses with contact information, photos and other pertinent information. Police often look up information about suspects, persons of interest, possible witnesses, etc through MVA records. You will suddenly have a whole slew of people that will drop off of the official register and make things that much more difficult for the police.

I don't want this to come off as if we suspect illegals to be more likely to commit crimes (often they are more cautious to try to stay under the radar and stay here longer), but the contact information is helpful to the police and I think it will make things harder on police in many instances.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | April 13, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The Senate shouldn't be giving in like this. It would be better if no bill became law, which would cause all citizens in Maryland to finally wake up to the consequences of illegal immigration when they are forced to get passports to board planes and enter federal buildings.

Posted by: postisarag | April 13, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Illegals should possess no breeder docs of any kind. Period. Allowing these loathsome squatters to renew licenses they should never have been issued to begin with is blatantly aiding and abetting illegal aliens (a federal felony). These cretins need to be rounded up and deported.

Posted by: AtlanBuster | April 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I am at a lost for words as I to do not understand how on earth can anyone illegally in this country obtain a driver's license. This should also goto renting aparments, obtaining employment, and anything else which requires authenticated personal indentifying information. They should not be allowed at all to obtain such information, nor even get the opportunity to renew their current information which also not consider sufficient documentation to prove legal citizenship.

This is crazy!

Posted by: Sincear202 | April 13, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It's also alarming that there even needs to be a "compromise" about not letting illegal aliens get drivers licenses. Thanks a bunch, Democrats.

Posted by: zippyspeed | April 13, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Illegals should possess no breeder docs of any kind. Period. Allowing these loathsome squatters to renew licenses they should never have been issued to begin with is blatantly aiding and abetting illegal aliens (a federal felony). These cretins need to be rounded up and deported.

Posted by: AtlanBuster | April 13, 2009 2:59 PM


I CONCUR, AGREE, STAMP OF APPROVAL, ETC. IM WITH YOU ON THIS.

Posted by: Sincear202 | April 13, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

While some argue that US roads will be made safer with illegal aliens in possession of driver's licenses, this is not the case. If illegal immigrants break US laws to sneak into the country, steal our identities, drive w/o a license, etc. why should they be expected to abide by driving laws and get insurance when they obtain driver's licenses.

How could any reasonable person make the argument that the roads would be safer when illegals can't even read the road signs:

School Zone Speed Limit 20 MPH Between 7am – 9am and 2pm – 4pm
School Bus Stop Ahead
No Passing
No Turn On Red
Do Not Enter
Merge Right
Right Lane Closed Ahead
Left Lane Ends
Right Turn Only
Keep Right
Be Prepared To Stop
Slow Watch For Pedestrians
Exit Only
Do Not Enter
Wrong Way
Two Way Traffic Ahead
Road Closed
No Parking School Days

Posted by: hunter340 | April 13, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The over whelming majority of Marylander s wishes are being ignored by our elected representatives. They are supposed to represent the interests of the voters, not illegals. Duh! We citizens don't want dual licenses. It does not well serve the citizens of Maryland well.
A compromise would involve deporting those at once caught without a license.
What is it about illegal that our Reps don't understand?

Posted by: llawrence9 | April 13, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

What is an "undocumented immigrant?" Did you mean ILLEGAL immigrant? Why not just say what you mean and not sugarcoat it?

Posted by: jlp7t | April 13, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

""What is it about illegal that our Reps don't understand?""


What they understand is that once they make illegal immigrants legal and they bring their families here the Demarcates will gain 40-60 million new votes. The people of this country are being sold out for their votes.

Posted by: justlookin | April 13, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"So if the writer or anybody else could tell me how an illegal can get a license, I am very curious to know."
--------------------------------
They provide a document from the Mexican consulate, which is basically available to any illegal alien that asks for one. They can also use utility bills, etc., for proof of residency. It's a total scam - 200,000 people who don't even live in Maryland have these and we can expect all of them to head back and renew - so they can renew again in 2015, then have a license that is good for another five years - Maryland taxpayers have to fund this system, and the insurance costs and increased crime, translation of MVA documents, etc., for at least another ten years. What a joke. These lawmakers need to be voted out of office.

Posted by: amhmd | April 13, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

When I first moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland, my wife and I both waited in line to get our new driver licenses. My wife had all her necessary papers but I didn't have an "original copy" of my birth certificate. I had to request one from PA and wait through the line again since they wouldn't accept my photocopy. Now how are undocumented people getting their license without somehow bypassing the requirements? Can we implement a policy that any illegals found to be in possession of a drivers license triggers an investigation of which DMV agents violated the rules?

As for those suggesting that having a license somehow is better for an illegal since they will drive anyway, how do you figure that logic? Do you know if they have insurance? The same people who violate the driver license rules are also as likely to violate other rules (i.e. the need to maintain insurance on a vehicle).

As for "DadWannaBe"s statement about having contacts for the illegals, wouldn't having a license hide their status? If a person can't provide proof of identity and they committed a crime, take them into custody (and if they are an illegal alien, deport them).

Posted by: jim_maryland | April 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Of course, by 2015 when the illegal's current driver's license expires, they will already have been given amnesty by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Lindsay Graham and others who are violating their oath of office by intentionally violating federal law.

Posted by: fighterDC | April 13, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

isaac101 wrote:
I'm fearful that this law will lead to two unintended consequences.....1) An increase in traffic accidents, particularly among those without a driver's license. 2) Selective enforcement. I hope MD officials ensure that as many Canadians, British, and Germans are denied licenses as Latino and African immigrants.

---------------------
Are you by any chance a CASA lobbyist? Illegal aliens drive without licenses anyway (and are more likely to cause hit-and-runs), but with one they are more likely to take an American's job that requires a license. As for selective enforcement, an overwhelming majority of illegal aliens are Hispanic. That's a fact. No illegal alien, of any nationality, should have a Maryland drivers license. Some of the 9/11 terrorists had Maryland drivers licenses. This is insane.

Posted by: amhmd | April 13, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I am very disappointed in this compromise. Any person here illegally should be denied all rights as a citizen. As a citizen of Maryland, I am furious that my driver's license will be suspect because of this reckless pandering by our elected officials to illegal aliens. I intend to demonstrate my views at the election polls.

Posted by: yeswecan3 | April 13, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

We no longer have a country. It does not matter that people come here illegally. They are given all the privileges and perks that are rightfully for those who are legal and born here. They will drive with or without a license and if they are here illegally why are they given licenses. Our country is not our country.

Posted by: ggdecon | April 13, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

i had to renew my ny license after my va license was expired for more than 2 years. i had to provide 6 points to prove i am who i am. 2 of those points were applied to a ss card which was REQUIRED after that i used 5 other items including my high school diploma (over 20 years old) and a couple of other documents. i even tried to get around it by bringing the woman who gave birth to me who had her ny drivers license which has the same address i grew up at. NOPE i needed those 6 points! MD should give NY a call and figure out how it's done.

Posted by: nall92 | April 13, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Every time there is a discussion about illegal immigrants the discussion and scorn is always at the illegal immigrant. What about an equal amount - or actually more scorn - for the employers who are hiring them for cheap labor. Instead of legislating against just the illegal immigrant legislate against the employer and we wouldn’t have an illegal immigrant problem – at least not to the extent we do now.

Just like prostitution – if there were no Johns there would be no prostitutes.

Posted by: rlj1 | April 13, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The weenies have caved to give priviledges to illegal aliens that they in no way deserve.

Perhaps the MD General Asylum should have their priviledges as Senators and Representatives pulled, permanently.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | April 13, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

niceday971--you are incorrect. Not only is it not required, by federal regulation, the state may not require a social security number to grant anything other than financial status (such as for tax purposes). A SSN is not a universal personal identification number, only a number. For identity theft and personal security information, my wife and I will not provide the MVA with out SSN and they are still required to grant us driver's licenses. We use birth certificates and passports to validate our citizenship for driver's license information.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | April 13, 2009 2:40 PM


Well my wife went to dmv to get her license again. They refused to give her a license because the SSA information on record was off. Instead of Maria it said MA. with is the same as maria but it was abbrevated. We had to change the information at SS office before she could get her license. She had her US passport at DMV and they still refused. So I don't know how you can get a maryland license without running thought SSA because that was what I was told at DMV on Route 1.

Posted by: niceday971 | April 13, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Lisa Rein - Please fix your headline so that it says "Illegal Alien Licenses". Immigrants have no problem obtaining driver's licenses, as they have passports with valid visas or they have green cards to show that they are legally here. These "second tier" licenses are "needed" only by illegal aliens, all of whom should be immediately deported anyway.

Posted by: postisarag | April 13, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

What's the point of heaping scorn on the employers? Sure, there are some that knowingly hire illegals. Most wouldn't do it, IMHO, if it weren't necessary as a competitive measure.

Think about it. If you run a lawn care company. You want to do the right thing by hiring unquestionably American applicants, but you can't get them for less than $20/hour. Your competitor's workforce is composed of illegals who will work for $10/hour. Even if you hire the Americans, you lose out because you can't price your work as low as your competitor.

The employers are just reacting to the business reality. If the illegals disappear, employers won't have to worry about the competition undercutting them because they have cheaper factors of production. Once that "edge" has been eliminated, employers can do the right thing because they won't have the opportunity to do the wrong thing.

Posted by: JoStalin | April 13, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

So, nothing has changed; this is exactly where they were prior to the "stale mate."

New illegals won't get a license (unless their fake IDs slide through).

Illegals who used fake IDs to get their licenses will be allowed to renew one more time.

And Maryland voters actually voted for these bozo

Posted by: asmith1 | April 13, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The first time I applied for a driver license, I had to provide a valid social security number and a passport. I’d like to know how an undocumented person will obtain a driver license without either document. Doesn’t the MVA have access to the SS database system to check this information? I learned not to trust everything that is written on the newspaper. Sometimes it is bogus.

Posted by: jclaude1125 | April 13, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Mucho gracias, Casa Maryland!

Posted by: Lazarus2010 | April 13, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

There is NO compromise on this bill .. .YET. Marylanders need to call those on the Senate side, Frosh, Brochin, and Maines to tell them that we'd rather have NO bill than a BAD bill.

NO ILLEGAL ALIENS NEEDS A LICENSE IN MARYLAND.

If there is no bill then the Gov. has to run for re-election with all Marylanders unable to use their drivers licenses to board an airplane, etc.

Who benefits from a 2-tier license? ILLEGALS & DEMOCRATS.

Who pays the 30 million dollar price tag for this????the taxpayers.

SAY NO TO THIS BILL.

Call the state house. . . 301-858-3000.

Posted by: CitizenPayne | April 13, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I am over joyed about the updates on this blog. Many readers of the WASHINGTON POST are actually realizing the truth about ILLEGAL ALIENS. In Virginia a county made it very difficult on ILLEGAL ALIENS and it appears to have worked - PRINCE WILLIAM - has had a drop of VIOLENT crime by 33%. Montgomery county welcomed these ILLEGAL ALIENS and the CRIME rate WENT UP. So which govt is protecting it's citizens. Again it appears that the Democrats want to give them amnesty so they will vote DEMOCRATIC at the expense of the real citizens. I would love to see some law suits against the GOVT of MONTGOMERY COUNTY. Years ago I wrote to the Montgomery county Executive about the problem with Illegal Aliens and got a response back theat they add DIVERSITY to the county. NOthing about the CRIME -- just they add diversity.

Posted by: nanbill05 | April 13, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if someone else mentioned this, but David Brinkley is not a state Delegate, he is in the Maryland Senate.

Posted by: trafalgar57 | April 13, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

When will the bozo's wake up and deport all of the ILLEGALS AND THEIR ANCHOR BABIES that are supported and educated by the hard-working TAXPAYERS?

Posted by: pbrown8155 | April 14, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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