At least three states–California, Maryland, and Texas–may allow immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses without a green card or worker’s visa, the Christian Science Monitor reporters. The change is being considered under pressure from growing numbers of Latinos, now the largest minority in America.
Advocates say the rationale of such a measure is to ensure that illegal workers drive safely. Others say that granting licenses to illegal immigrants gives them tacit residence status. Licenses are a de facto passport for opening a bank account or obtaining other benefits. The dispute is part of a larger debate over what privileges illegals should be allowed and whether such moves undermine homeland security by making it easier for terrorists to infiltrate the U.S.
The view among policymakers is not unanimous. Georgia’s Senate last week defeated a bill that allowed undocumented workers to apply for licenses.