Are States really issuing IDs for illegal immigrants? Yes…
In recent months, the issue of illegal immigration has come to the forefront with the inauguration of Joe Biden as the nation’s 46th President. While illegal immigration, particularly at our southern border, has posed a challenge that decades of government debate have failed to solve, the presidency of Donald Trump showed what a winning strategy can look like. Through a combination of border wall construction and diplomatic agreements with Central American governments, the Trump administration was able to bring the number of illegal immigrants crossing our borders to record lows in the final year of his presidency. The Biden Administration has undone that progress and a new crisis emerges.
5 States Issuing IDs for Illegal Immigrants
Illegal immigration is a national threat which requires a federal response. However, within our system is a Constitutional protection of state’s rights, which has allowed many states to circumvent and undermine federal strategies to reduce the incentive for migrants to come here illegally. For example, in 2005, Congress enacted laws to implement Real ID requirements for American citizens. Since then, many states have undermined the process of creating a uniform ID system for citizens and legal residents by providing IDs for undocumented immigrants. Here is a list of five such states helping illegal immigrants game the system:
In 2013, California passed AB 60 which became effective as state law in 2015. This bill not only allowed illegal residents to obtain a California ID, it also prohibited the use of these IDs to question the legal status of anyone who received one. Information regarding the law on the state’s DMV website states the following: “As of January 2015, California residents who cannot establish legal presence in the United States may apply for a driver’s license if they can show eligible proof of identification and residency in the state. These driver’s licenses may not be used for identification purposes. By law, no one may discriminate against a holder of an AB 60 license, or use this license to attempt to question the holder’s citizenship or immigration status.”
Also in 2013, the state of Connecticut passed H 6495 which gave illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses in the state. According to NCSL.org, “This law provides driver’s licenses to applicants who submit a valid foreign passport or consular identification and proof of residency, regardless of legal presence in the United States. Applicants must file to legalize as soon as he or she is eligible.” The law became effective in 2015.
In 2012, Illinois passed S 957 which went into effect in November of 2013. This law empowers the state’s Secretary of State to issue a “temporary visitor’s license” to any illegal immigrant who can prove residence in the state. According to NILC.org, the law builds on already existing infrastructure which provided legal immigrants who were not eligible for social security numbers, such as students, to obtain a driver’s license. “Since 2005, Illinois has issued TVDLs to individuals who do not have SSNs but who have lawful immigration status.” S 957 provides those who came here illegally with the same privileges as those who followed the law, as long as they can present evidence that they reside in Illinois and can present a valid consular ID number or unexpired foreign passport.
While liberal leaning state and local governments have typically overseen the implementation of programs to provide IDs for illegal immigrants, Utah is one traditionally conservative state who has taken similar action. In 2005, the state passed S 227, effective that same year. This Utah program places a one-year limit on the IDs for those in the state illegally. “Applicants without a Social Security number must prove Utah residency for six months and provide a tax identification number. The card is expressly prohibited from being used for any identification purposes by a governmental entity.”
The state of New York passed two new laws in 2019 to provide IDs for illegal immigrants, which both went into effect that same year. S 1747 authorizes the state to issue the IDs to illegal immigrants, but a second law, A3675 takes things a step further. NCSL.org notes that under this law, “The Department of Motor Vehicles may not disclose records to any agency that primarily enforces immigration law without a lawful court order or judicial warrant. The law requires that any person or entity that has access to information from the department to certify that the information will not be used for civil immigration purposes.” Not only is the state of New York incentivizing illegal immigration by flouting requirements for their drivers to be legal residents, they are actively committed to obstructed federal immigration enforcement. These two state laws are everything wrong with activist illegal immigration policies in our country in a nutshell.
The concept of the sanctuary city is one that has evolved since their first appearance in the 1980s. Historically speaking, the idea of a sanctuary city stems from the plight of immigrants fleeing religious and other violent persecution. In turn, many cities opened their doors to those fleeing dangerous conditions.