Debates about illegal immigration are escalating as states weigh whether to grant driver’s licenses and other benefits to people who entered the U.S. illegally, reports USA Today. Some states are moving to restrict the rights of illegal immigrants, while some may expand them. The debate mirrors efforts in Congress to grapple with the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants now estimated to be living in the U.S., says the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C.
The Arizona Legislature approved a measure last week that would prohibit police and local and state agencies from accepting ID cards issued by the Mexican Consulate. After allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, Utah replaced them in February with driver identification cards that cannot be used to board planes or to register to vote. In March, New Mexico became the ninth state since 2002 to allow some undocumented students to pay discounted tuition to public colleges, a benefit afforded to state residents. At least 16 other states are studying similar measures.