The House of Representatives is expected today to pass a bill that would block states from providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The legislation proposed by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., would require states to verify that all applicants for driver’s licenses are American citizens or are living in the country legally. If states don’t comply within three years, their licenses couldn’t be used for federal purposes, including boarding airplanes.
Tthe bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate; proponents may attach it to the first “must-pass” legislation, perhaps the proposed $80 billion spending bill for the war in Iraq. A larger bill the House started debating yesterday includes other controversial sections, such as an effort to force asylum seekers to provide more corroborating evidence to support their claims of being persecuted in their home countries. The bill also moves to complete the final 3-mile stretch of a 14-mile three-tier fence along the Mexican border around San Diego by giving the homeland security secretary the power to waive any laws, including environmental provisions and public bidding laws, that hold up construction. The driver’s license clause goes to the heart of an issue that figured in the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis, who first opposed legislation giving undocumented residents in California the right to get driver’s licenses and then signed it.