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Tipsheet

Illegal Immigrants Can Begin Applying for Driver’s Licenses in One State

Illegal immigrants who are living in Minnesota can begin the process of getting their driver’s license, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Now, around 81,000 people in the state are expected to be eligible for a driver’s license under a new legislation called the “Driver’s License for All” law. Those eligible can begin the application process, but cannot obtain a license until it goes into effect Oct. 1.

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The new law removes the requirements for applicants to show legal presence, AP noted.

“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of a handful of states that offer driver’s license for all,” Pong Xiong, Driver and Vehicle Services Director at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said at the news conference over the legislation. “And the first step to getting your driver’s license is to pass that written test.”

Reportedly, Jody-Kay Peterson, the state’s Driver Services Program Director, stated that the agency will not submit the names or personal information of applicants to immigration law enforcement.

Applicants will be required to pass written and road tests, but will not be asked for proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status. They must present identifying documents, such as an unexpired foreign passport or a birth certificate from another country.

In March, Townhall reported how Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed the legislation.

“Ensuring drivers in our state are licensed and carry insurance makes the roads safer for all Minnesotans,” Walz said in a statement about the bill signing. “As a longtime supporter of this bill, I am proud to finally sign it into law, making our roads safer and moving us toward our goal of making Minnesota the best state to raise a family for everyone.”

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Local outlet Fox 9 previously reported that Republicans who opposed the change argued that expanding access to driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants would lead to election and benefits fraud. The law itself reverses a 2003 rule implemented by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican. He created the rule post-9/11 to prevent people without legal status in the U.S. from getting licenses. 

Last year, Townhall reported that an issue was placed on the ballot in Massachusetts for voters to decide on rejecting a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Voters decided against repealing the law.

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