Illegal Alien Driver's Licenses Invite Fraud to States

Article publisher: 
Federation of American Immigration Reform
Article date: 
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Article category: 
National Issues
Article Body: 

States that grant driver's licenses to illegal aliens are beginning to see growing evidence of fraud in the application process.

This month, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") announced that many out-of-state aliens have been fraudulently applying for driver's licenses in Vermont. (Watchdog, Jan. 22, 2015) The Vermont DMV made this announcement after it uncovered that at least 130 applications at just one of its DMV offices last month were filled out using false address information. (Id.) When applicants later arrived in person to take the driving portion of the test, investigators learned that many of these applicants were illegal aliens who had paid $2,000 to individuals in New York for help to obtain Vermont driver's licenses. (Id.)

Vermont is not the only state experiencing high instances of fraud in relation to its driver's license law. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez recently re-ignited her appeal to dump New Mexico's driver's license law that allows illegal aliens to receive regular driver's licenses, in violation of the REAL ID Act. (KOAT Albuquerque, Jan. 20, 2015) Indeed, New Mexico has experienced high instances of fraud as a result of granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. During an audit between August 2010 and April 2011, investigators found that as much as 75 percent of foreign national license applications were phonies. (KRQE) Between that same period, investigators also uncovered 37 percent of foreign national requests for appointments came from out-of-state, most from Arizona, Georgia, and Texas. (Fox News, Jan. 25, 2012)

Tennessee, which also passed a law to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens in 2004, has similarly experienced high instances of fraud in the application process. (Watchdog, Jan. 22, 2015) The state ultimately repealed the law in 2007 after it became apparent to officials that granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens contributed to "an excess of fraudulent resident documents." (Id.)

This month, the State of California is flooded with new applicants for driver's licenses after it began implementing Assembly Bill 60, its new law which grants driver's licenses to illegal alien residents. After the first week of implementation, the California DMV reported that over 46,200 aliens had applied for the special license. (KHTS, Jan. 6, 2015) Of this number, only about a third of the applicant pool passed both the written and driving portions of the test, with 64% of applicants failing. (Id.) California's new law is expected to cost the state over $220 million dollars over the next three years to implement. (Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary)

Driver's license legislation is proving once again to be a hot topic in state legislatures for the third year in a row, with some legislators still pushing to extend driving privileges to illegal aliens despite the mounting evidence of fraud in states that already do. For example, legislators in Rhode Island and Texas reintroduced legislation this month to extend driver's licenses to illegal aliens, after unsuccessful attempts in both states to push the idea last year. (Valley Breeze, Jan. 14, 2015; House Bill 68; Senate Bill 132)

Legislators in other states, however, are seeking a step back. In New Mexico, legislators followed Governor Martinez's appeal and introduced bills change the state's law. Representative Paul Pacheco introduced House Bill "H.B." 32 that would amend New Mexico law to only grant lower tier "driver's privilege cards" to illegal aliens instead of regular driver's licenses. (H.B. 32) Representative William Rehm went even further by introducing H.B. 79 to repeal New Mexico's law completely and reduce the period of validity for driver's licenses to only an alien's period of authorized stay. (H.B. 79)