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Miller: Leaders May Have to Break Driver's License Stalemate

Senate President Mike Miller said today that he doesn't see a compromise position emerging between the House of Delegates and the Senate on the thorny issue of whether Maryland should continue issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

"Either myself, or the [House] Speaker or the governor will have to step in to get the votes to move forward" before the General Assembly's scheduled adjournment on Monday, Miller (D-Calvert) said.

Here's where things stand on what is shaping up as the session's down-to-the wire issue:

The legislature and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) agree that Maryland must pass legislation this year requiring drivers to prove they are in the country legally in order to comply with the federal security law known as Real ID. Maryland is one of just four states that offers licenses to undocumented residents.

The House has passed a bill that would allow those drivers to keep their licenses and renew them for a driving permit that would deny them access to federal buildings or commercial planes--but shut the door June 1 to those seeking new licenses. The more conservative Senate legislation would not grandfather in what's estimated at hundreds of thousands of current undocumented drivers,

The governor has said he supports the House bill, which is derided by opponents as a "two-tier" system that has been difficult to implement in other states that have tried it.

But House Speaker Mike Busch (D-Anne Arundel) today objected to that characterization, describing the House bill's provision for current license-holders a "grandfather clause."

A small committee of lawmakers from each chamber is expected to come up with a compromise, which must then be approved by all lawmakers. On such a passionate issue, expect debate into the session's final hours.

By Lisa Rein  |  April 8, 2009; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Lisa Rein  
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Undocumented residents???

Undocumented drivers???

Lisa apparently did not receive the WaPo memo that states you must call them illegal immigrants.

I'm tired of are a newspaper and are required to use proper terminology.

They are ILLEGAL ALIENS........

And don't you dummies realize that when you allow one segment of the population to disregard the laws they don't like it will have a disastrous effect on the rest?

O'malley, CASA and Legget are destroying your state and you do nothing to stop it...

Posted by: jeffreid1 | April 8, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

jeffreid1, you really need to take a chill pill. "Illegal aliens" sounds stupid, like they're from Mars or something. It doesn't make any difference how we refer to the people who are in the country illegally and the fact is, they ARE undocumented, so what's wrong with calling them that? Stop wasting time focusing on the trivial rather than the important meat of the issue -- or is that too hard for someone of your obviously extremely limited intellect?

Posted by: 7900rmc | April 8, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

well said 7900rmc.

Posted by: marylander3 | April 8, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Ok let's talk meat-

Do you believe that all people should be required to follow all the laws, regardless of status?

Do you believe it is discriminatory to favor one group over another?

Do you think it is fair to all the others who don't drive because they can't afford it?

Do you think it is fair to allow some an advantage in coming to America because of a geographical location?

Do you know that your slack attitude towrds this issue will result in a lower standard of living and an increase in crime?

Posted by: jeffreid1 | April 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Who really believes that someone who lives here "illegally" will let not having a driver's license stop them from driving? Requiring citizenship will only result in more unlicensed drivers. If these people do not have a driver's license, how do we have any idea who they are - or where they live? If anything, there should be more of an effort to encourage registration of "undocumented" persons. As long as they are required to pass the same tests to drive, document their address and have insurance, why not use the permit as a tool?

Posted by: fpc99 | April 8, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

No grandfather clauses. I had to give 3 verifiable sources of residency before getting an ID card before I could drive, and whenever I got my license. I have had to have a birth certificate and social security card for EVERY job I've held full-time and part-time for OVER 20 years. I have been documented to death (and paid for each item to be copied, faxed, and so on for decades) This is the 21st century, there is no need for anyone to be "undocumented." If they do not have a Social Security number, or a state issued birth certificate (yeah, you pay for that too) then my friend, they need to be on mass transportation and work closer to home. A fact for people that have grown up in this country is...driving is a privilege, not a right.

Posted by: stopthemadness | April 8, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The illegal aliens should have never been issued licenses in the first place. If one is caught driving without one, lock him/her the hell up and send their name to ICE. Maryland is overrun with these invaders and pandering policies such as this is the reason why.

Posted by: StLou | April 9, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Undocumented residents???
Undocumented drivers???
Illegal immigrants???
Illegal aliens???
Illegal foreigners???

They are invading criminals, with no claim whatsoever to the welcome mat extended to legal immigrants.

Posted by: hunter340 | April 9, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Maryland legislators are straddling the fence. They want to keep the cheap illegal alien labor force happy - and more importantly the contractors who are submitting low bids for those stimulus contracts, knowing Maryland Legislators will put on a good show and look the other way when the staffing begins.

If Maryland is concerned about illegal aliens abusing more of our laws, legislators can easily implement E-Verify and solved the problem once and for all.

But, doing so will alienate the contractors who are their primary contributors. Also, they know if they can stall a little longer, Obama has plans to come to the rescue and free the illegals for all these low skilled jobs while Unemployment of American citizens continues to climb.

And some people say the Republicans are the only ones who let buisnesses have their cake and eat it to.

Posted by: asmith1 | April 9, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

The legislation has just about nothing to do with illegal aliens. The reason for tinkering with our driver's license system seems likely one of few possibilities.

One is the Maryland state legislature looking to create some new and hidden tax dollars for their own political benefit - unless of course you believe the huge increase in fees for a Maryland driver's license is not a hidden tax.

The legislature of course will not stand for businesses being saddled with the cost of verifying their own employees. Heaven forbid!

Then there's also big brother wanting the ability to track ordinary U.S. citizens positively anywhere and everywhere we go.

Q: Using the U.S. passport system is far less expensive than reinventing state issued driver's license, so why not simply require a U.S. passport to fly or enter federal buildings?

A: Because the U.S. passport system lacks an interstate database with active tracking.

And hey what's better than creating a new database with information that can be eventually sold off to the highest bidder -illegal, foreign or otherwise.

This legislation will not substantially stem the illegal alien problem. Illegals will adapt and possibly even thrive just as they have before.

The alternative E-Verify proposal would almost certainly address the problem right where it's needed. But such a sensible proposal probably wouldn't be nearly as lucritive to the state in the short term, could cost businesses some profits and/or be as destructive to our privacy.

Posted by: splashmonkey | April 9, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Why is it whenever I have been to court to defend myself for moving violations, I have been reminded that driving is “A Privilege, Not a Right”. Apparently it is still a privilege for those of us born in this country to parents who were also born in this country; but it has become a Right for those who entered the country without permission.
I think we need one standard for all, and I vote for– Driving is a Right that the state cannot take away.

Posted by: teoakley1 | April 9, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

My name is Thomas Hardman and I am running for County Council in District 4 of Montgomery.

The Federal government recently consulted with the Assembly in Annapolis. It's fairly certain that these "unnamed officials" with the Department of Homeland Security disclosed pretty scary facts to the Maryland House Judiciary Committee to get them to go even as far as they did. Among other things, it seems that the Maryland Driver's License is the preferred license for operations in the US by the in-country operatives of the Mexican Drug Cartels that are spreading bloodshed and terror all across northern Mexico and giving Phoenix Arizona the second-highest rate of kidnappings in this hemisphere.

I call upon my leading rival in the Democratic District 4 race -- sitting State Delegate Ben Kramer (District 19) -- to exercise all of his influence to convince the conference committee to adopt the Senate version of the REAL ID compliance act. I further call upon the Right Honorable Mr Kramer, not as my rival in a political campaign, but as my duly-elected representative, to press for the adoption of conference clauses that will require that within no more than two years, a special notice will be sent to all persons in possession of a Maryland Driver Permit or non-driver Identification Card, requiring them to provide appropriate documentation and to re-apply for a new REAL-ID-compliant DL/ID. This would be the opposite of "grandfathering". This would be "accelerated adoption of full compliance".

I call on all of my fellow Montgomery residents in State District 19, and in Montgomery Councilmanic District 4, to immediately contact the offices of Mr Kramer, Mr Roger Manno, and Mr Hank Heller to urge them to act as detailed above.

Regards, and this statement is authorized by Citizens for Thomas Hardman. Indeed, I personally wrote this.

Posted by: thardman | April 9, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I think new laws need to be put in place for maryland. Think about this and tell me if I'm wrong here. When growing up here in Maryland we never had gangs and we never had the issue of illegal alines crossing over to the united state at this rate. I say let them stay but with one condition. A one strike law. You break the law you are out of here no questions asked. If you are in a gang you are out of here fast. So would your family for knowing it and not reporting it. If you become legal and you break any laws you will have that taken from you as well. This will stop the gangs from forming in the USA and casa of maryland from complaining about everything that is law. You make them read and give a signiture that they agree to these laws and know the outcome if the laws are broken. No court hearings to tie up our court system and find loop holes to slide by period.

Posted by: gmacreslivecom | April 15, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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