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Washington DC Grants Driver's Licenses to Illegal Immigrants

Illegal immigrants can now obtain limited purpose driver’s licenses in our nation’s capitol. District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray (D) signed the bill last November and the law went into effect May 1.


Requirements for obtaining the license include: never having been issued nor been eligible for a social security card. Comforting. The Department of Motor Vehicles gives the details (emphasis added):

The driver knowledge and road tests will be required for all applicants applying for the Limited Purpose driver license. First time DC applicants must be a resident of the District of Columbia for at least 6 months. Applicants must have never been issued a social security number, previously been issued a social security number but no longer eligible, or not be eligible for a social security number. The Limited Purpose driver license/identification card may not be used for official federal purposes, and it will be marked to reflect this requirement.

As Christine noted, DC has an extensive metro system making driving non-essential to most residents. Taxis have also been a standard mode of transportation for city dwellers for years. For drivers who wish to venture out of the city, buses at Union Station deport to hubs across the United States. So what is this really about?

In a radio address last May, Gray referred to his bill as being an important alleviate to undocumented aliens, claiming he was proud to challenge the immoral status quo.


“Can you imagine being legally prohibited from owning or operating an automobile?” he asked. Well, Gray, I certainly could if I were living in a country illegally.

Altering laws to accommodate individuals who have entered the United States illegally is not helping anyone in the long-term. As Conn pointed out:

By giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses, states are only making the existing facts on the ground, more livable for everyone involved. And the more people are comfortable with the status quo, the less likely major reform is.

Rather than trying to make lawbreakers live more comfortably, immigration reform must be addressed. It is unfair to all parties involved to merely put a Band-Aid over this serious issue.

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