National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Toolkit | Access to Driver's Licenses

Compose

Fact Sheets, Talking Points, Policy Analysis

Benefits of Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses

Uniform vs. Marked Licenses

REAL ID

Identification Issues

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)

Countering Allegations of Fraud

Costs

General Fact Sheets, Talking Points, and Analysis

Driver’s Licenses and National Security

Campaign Websites with Additional Information

 

Uniform vs. Marked Licenses

Marked Driver’s Licenses Are Wrong for This State

Talking points on how marked driver’s licenses invite discrimination, provide a pathway to deportation, undermine public safety, and make a state's residents a target for discrimination in other states. (NILC)

Restoring Driving Privileges to Immigrants

Makes the case for why uniform (unmarked) driver’s licenses maximize the benefits to law enforcement and public safety. (ACLU*)

Undocumented Immigrants Shouldn’t Have a “Scarlet Letter” on Their License

Makes the case for why California should adopt uniform (unmarked) driver’s licenses and explains how not having a driver’s license affects the author’s own family. (Maria Genis, Fusion)

REAL ID

The REAL ID Act: Questions and Answers

The questions answered in this FAQ are: What is the REAL ID Act? Are the REAL ID Act’s requirements in effect? What is the new enforcement schedule? Do REAL ID’s requirements apply to all interactions with federal agents or to enter all federal buildings? Does having a license that is not acceptable for official federal purposes mean that the person who has the license is an unauthorized immigrant? How many states has DHS determined to be in compliance with REAL ID? Are states that impose immigration restrictions on access to driver’s licenses therefore in compliance with REAL ID? Are states required to implement REAL ID’s requirements? Are states required to deny licenses to immigrants who are ineligible for a REAL ID–compliant license? Why has DHS postponed the deadline for states to comply with REAL ID’s requirements? Does the REAL ID Act make all lawfully present immigrants eligible for a REAL ID–compliant license? Do states have an interest in issuing driver’s licenses to all eligible drivers? (NILC)

REAL ID Act of 2005

One-page description of REAL ID, current federal position on implementation, and concerns it raises. (ACLU*)

LETTER
Issuance of Second-Tier Driver’s Licenses Without Proof of Legal Residence Under REAL ID Act

Letter from “law professors whose teaching and scholarship focus on immigration law” to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut confirming that issuance of second-tier licenses to state residents who do not have proof of lawful presence does not run afoul of the REAL ID Act. (1/15/13)

LETTER
Administrator of Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to State Senator Brian Frosh, Chair of Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee

Letter confirming passage of SB 715 will not negatively impact the state’s compliance with the REAL ID Act. (Maryland MVA, 3/14/13)

LETTER
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to Washington State Governor

Confirming Washington’s Enhanced Driver’s License policy complies with REAL ID. (U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, 7/16/08)

MARYLAND
The Maryland Highway Safety Act (S.B. 715) and REAL ID Compliance

Discusses SB 715 and how passage will not endanger the state’s REAL ID compliance. (CASA de Maryland*)

RealNightmare.org

ACLU website with extensive information and resources on REAL ID.

Identification Issues

Why Limiting Acceptance of a Driver’s License as Identification Will Harm Public Safety

Here's what the experts say: Accepting driver’s licenses as identification helps law enforcement officers. Police can use their resources more efficiently if driver’s licenses are acceptable as identification. Driver’s license databases are a law enforcement tool. Ability to prove identity improves the relationship between community members and the police. And when people can identify themselves with government-issued IDs, they can open bank accounts, which reduces the risk that they will be targeted by criminals. (NILC)

Proof of Identity in States that Do Not Require Lawful Status to Obtain a Driver’s License

Consular ID Card

Mexican government PowerPoint presentation explaining what a consular ID card (also known as a matrícula consular) is, documents required to obtain one, and security features.

 


* This organization gave NILC permission to upload this item to NILC’s website.